Sunday night, December 13. That was the last time Stanford Men's Basketball was victorious on the hardwood, an 85-69 triumph over UC Davis. Since then the Farm Boys have dropped three in a row to fall below .500 for the first time this late in a season since 2005-2006 with hard-fought losses to Oklahoma State, Northwestern, and Texas Tech. Now back from a three-day Christmas break, the Cardinal are set to face the James Madison Dukes out of the Colonial Athletic Association. A win tonight would give Stanford a little momentum and confidence heading into the Pac-10 opener Saturday afternoon in Berkeley. Let's take a look inside the Dukes' locker room and see how the Cardinal can get back to .500:
2008-2009 Season: 21-15 (9-9 CAA-
This is a team that has really risen from the ashes under
2nd-year coach Matt Brady. In his first season at the helm, the Dukes had
their first winning season and post-season berth since the 1999-2000 season when
they went 20-9 (12-4 CAA). Their nine conference victories were also the
most they've registered since 1999-2000. Stanford underwent a similar transition
last season, and having gone through the natural growing pains that come with a
coaching change, Cardinal fans should really appreciate what the Dukes were able
to accomplish last season. The Dukes were led on the court by leading
scorers Juwann James, Julius Wells, and Kyle Swanston. Now-senior point
guard Pierre Curtis led the team with 51 steals, a mark that is 4th all-time in
the James Madison single-season record books.
Season: 6-4 (0-1 CAA)
The Dukes might have a nice record, but
they haven't faced the toughest competition. Their SOS is 339th in the
nation according to the Pomeroy rankings and they have yet to face a Power
Conference team. However, this team has had new life since Denzel Bowles,
a transfer from Texas A&M, was cleared to play by the NCAA after the
conclusion of the fall semester at JMU. In three games, Bowles has
averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds and has really made the Dukes that much more
dangerous. They are picked to finish 5th in the Colonial Athletic
Association this season behind Old Dominion, Northeastern, Virginia
Commonwealth, and George Mason, respectively.
• Denzel Bowles (6'10, 255-lb Junior)- leads
team in scoring and rebounding with 25 ppg and 11 rpg. In their biggest
win of the season against Gardner Webb (78-57), Denzel dropped 37 and 15 on the
Big South Bulldogs.
• Pierre Curtis (6'3, 180-lb
Senior)- might not be one of their top scorers (8.9 per), but he leads the team
in minutes played and really makes the Dukes engine go. His 4.6 assists
per contest lead the team and he also has 14 steals, good for 2nd on James
• Julius Wells (6'5, 190-lb Sophomore)¬- last
season's CAA Rookie of the Year with 11.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg, he has upped the ante
so far in 2009-2010 with 13.7 ppg and 6.1 rpg. However, he is only a 56%
foul shooter and hits at a 37% rate from the field.
Team Stats (opponent
statistics in italics):
• 64.3 ppg(64.6)-37 rpg(37.7)-14.8 apg(12.4);
.422 FG%(.382)-.265 3FG%(.288)-.665 FT%(.730); 15.2 TO(12.9)-5.7 spg(8.2)-4.4
Kevo's Keys to Cardinal Success against the
• Hurry up the Dukes: James
Madison likes to keep the game in the mid-60s and control the clock.
Pressure man-to-man defense will work against a team that doesn't have the
offensive firepower of a TTU or Oklahoma State. Also, JMU averages 15.2
TOs per game, so they are definitely susceptible to giving the ball to the
• Get out to an early lead and hold on to
it: Stanford had early leads that quickly slipped away against each of their
last three opponents. Holding on to that lead for a longer period of time
will also force the Dukes out of their comfort zone and make them rush more
shots in the 2nd half.
• Big play from the "Bigs"-
outside of Denzel Bowles, the Dukes do not really have anyone that is comparable
to Stanford's post players. If Bowles can be kept in check (he certainly
will not put up 25 and 11- we're not Gardner-Webb or Fordham!), Trotter,
Zimmermann, and Company should be able to pad their stats and get some
confidence when getting ready to take on Max Zhang and Marc Sanders-Frison of
Cal on Saturday afternoon.
Check back on The Bootleg after the
game for a descriptive and detailed post-game wrap-up from Ray "Boom Boom"
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Who Are You: James Madison Dukes
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