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Dance Card: James Madison, CAA

Balance and power, and a team looking to bring glory back to an old stronghold.

Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

Who? The Dukes of James Madison.

What? Named for the university president who got the equipment for the first men's basketball team. Duke and the Duke Dog came later.

Where? Harrisonburg, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley.

When? March 16th, in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Why? They won the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

How? James Madison took control with a big run late in the first half and never looked back in their 70-45 drubbing of Delaware. Jazmon Gwathmey had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Dukes.

Surprise? Predicted to finish first in the conference, they won the regular-season title by five games over Delaware.

RPI: 51

SOS: 168

Record: 27-5 (15-1 CAA)

Good wins: UCLA at the Gulf Coast Showcase.

Bad losses: ...which may have led to the loss to Wright State two days later. That loss at Charleston is not a good look either, not with the weakness of the CAA this year.

Who's running this show? Kenny Brooks, since 2002. Seriously? Just since then? I thought he was there since at least the mid-'90s.

Extra, Extra! The Daily News-Record, though the Rivals connection scares me a little.


Senior guard Kirby Burkholder leads the way for the Dukes, both inside (8.4 rebounds) and outside (105 threes on the year, 18.5 points). There's a lot of balance on this squad, though. When junior forward Toia Giggetts can stay on the court, she's a big contributor (5.8 rebounds, 13.3 points). They can come with a lot of size off the bench to completely change their style, with center Lauren Okafor and forward Da'Lishia Griffin.

There's a lot of relentless power in the Dukes' game, and a lot of height. They like to use their six-foot guards to create mismatches.

Random factoid that might only amuse me: technically, their top distributor comes off the bench. Angela Mickens notched 133 assists to Nikki Newman's 132 before the final.