Sunday, January 9, 2011

JMU, ODU meet in CAA title game rematch; Va., Tech face foes from Sunshine State

Sunday's previews:

Longwood (3-10) at Cornell (2-11), 2 p.m.
Intriguing Big Red sked (that rhymes) features this sequence: South Dakota, Longwood, Columbia, Columbia. Hmm. Ithaca and Winston-Salem State are the lone teams Cornell has beaten in a season that has seen them average just 50.9 ppg. This same like a golden chance for the Lancers to pick up a win, though their 0-5 record on the road is a concern. Still Brittani Billups and Chelsea Coward lead a much more productive offense than Cornell's and should be able to change that number for the positive. Longwood 71, Cornell 56

Virginia (10-6, 0-1 ACC) at Florida State (13-3, 1-0), 2 p.m.
Our confidence in the Cavaliers wasn't lifted by their nine-point loss at home to Miami. Now it's on the road in the ACC against a Florida State team that beat up on Virginia Tech in Blackburg. That was Sue Semrau's 100th win in the ACC, and as much as we'd like 101 to wait, it's hard to beat against a Seminole team that has won four straight and holds a 7-1 mark at home. Florida State 81, Virginia 70

Miami (15-1, 1-0 ACC) at Virginia Tech (9-6, 0-1), 2 p.m.
Do we feel like naysayers or what? But how can we helped but be impressed by the same Miami team that surprised the Cavaliers in Charlottesville? The Hurricanes are the silent storm of the ACC, having won 14 straight behind Shenise Johnson, whose line included 30 points and 11 boards versus the Cavs. Miami has forced all but one opponent into at least 20 turnovers, and we fear that trend, along with the win streak, will continue at Tech's expense. Miami 80, Virginia Tech 65

James Madison (9-5, 2-0 CAA) at Old Dominion (8-5, 2-0), 3 p.m.
This one is a rematch of the CAA title game won by the Dukes, who also got the victory last season over ODU in the Constant Center (ODU won in Harrisonburg). The Lady Monarchs weren't exactly overwhelming in beating George Mason on Thursday, a game in which they trailed 14-3.They did get a huge boost from Tia Lewis, who must factor in today against the Dukes' post game led by Lauren Jimenez. But the biggest factor: Dawn Evans. ODU has the best 3-point defense in the conference and will need it if the senior sharpshooter gets hot. And when isn't Evans hot? She leads the nation in scoring (25.8 ppg) and has amassed 175 points in the last six games. Triple team Evans and take your chances with everybody else? Dangerous maybe, but so is Evans. James Madison 65, Old Dominion 61

George Mason (7-6, 1-1 CAA) at Virginia Commonwealth (7-5, 2-0), 2 p.m.
The Rams have owned this series since 2006, the last time the Patriots won. On one hand, the Patriots were able to come within four on the road against Old Dominion on Thursday. On the other, VCU has this kid named Courtney Hurt, coming off a 35-point effort over Wilmington. "We've got to do a good job trying to contain her," said GMU coach Jeri Porter. Our over-under on Hurt for this one is 25. VCU 78, George Mason 69

William and Mary (1-11, 0-2) at Northeastern (5-8, 0-2), 2 p.m.
This much we know. Taysha Pye will score her 1,000th career point today (she needs 1).  We're also certain one of these teams will get its first CAA win of the season on Sunday. We'd like it to be W&M. We're unsure if Northeastern will having leading scorer Rachael Pecota, who has missed the last three games. If this one were in Williamsburg, we'd go with Tribe. Since it's in Boston .....Northeastern 67, William and Mary 61

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