Thursday, December 17, 2009

Daily dribble

It's showtime for James Madison, back to work for William and Mary and a couple of unheralded but tricky opponents for Radford and Longwood. Note - Due to an impending snowstorm, the start time for the Davidson-Radford game has been moved up to 3 p.m. The game was originally set to tip off of at 7 p.m.

Friday's action

No. 24 JMU (7-0) at No. 7 Duke (7-2), 7 p.m.
First of all, let's all breathe a sigh of relief that JMU star Dawn Evans has her health and appears set to return. But even though she's been out less than two weeks, no one should expect her to spin right back into Wonder Woman, especially against a Blue Devils defense that will pick her up the moment she sets foot in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke can be dysfunctional on offense at times, but the Blue Devils are tenacious defenders who will be playing with something to prove after Tuesday's setback at Stanford. They also know that JMU is legit, as the Dukes are 2-0 against Duke's ACC brethren (think Kenny Brooks won't bring that up a time or two during recruiting visits?). If the Dukes can reprise their effort against Virginia - and most importantly, if Evans is Evans, who knows? If not, well, a lot of really good teams haven't beaten Duke in Durham. Duke 78, JMU 72

William and Mary (4-3) at Norfolk State (2-5), 6 p.m.
Tuesday's 57-45 victory over Savannah State was a signature triumph for the Spartans as they beat a Division I team with a winning record on the road, three rarities for this program in the post-James Sweat era. Furthermore, while the Spartans are on what for them constitutes a roll, William and Mary hasn't played in two weeks. The problem is NSU simply doesn't match up with this team. NSU has no starter taller than 5-9; William and Mary's frontline goes 6-3, 6-3 and 5-11, with 6-2 All-CAA forward Tiffany Benson coming off the bench. When these teams met a year ago in Williamsburg, the Tribe won by 60. It won't be nearly that decisive this time, but unless the Tribe is extremely rusty, NSU's matchup problems should again prove fatal. William and Mary 73, Norfolk State 53

Davidson (3-7) at Radford (1-7), 3 p.m.
At the start of the season, Davidson 6-4 freshman Sophia Aleksandravicius was just a mouthful. Now she's also a handful, averaging 20.3 ppg and 10.0 rpg over her last four games. The Wildcats lost their first six games. Then Aleksandravicius figured things out, and they've gone 3-1 since. Bottom line - this game looked a lot more winnable for Radford two weeks ago. Davidson 69, Radford 55

Longwood (3-8) at High Point (4-5), 7 p.m.
Defense may win championships (it really doesn't, by itself anyway, but that's the cliche) - but offense has been the key in Longwood's three victories. The Lancers have scored at least 72 points in each of those games, but no more than 62 in any of their losses. Longwood's offense was certainly clicking in Tuesday's 72-55 decision over Campbell. But that performance won't frighten High Point, which owns a 21-point win over those same Camels. More importantly, the Panthers are 3-0 at home; the Lancers 0-6 away from home. High Point 72, Longwood 62

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