Thursday, February 24, 2011

JMU looks for 13th straight win; UVa hosts mighty Duke

Thursday's games

William and Mary (3-22, 2-13) at Old Dominion (18-8, 12-3 CAA), 7 p.m.
The record doesn't show it, but the Tribe seems to have figured out who they are and are causing teams fits of late. This isn't a prediction, but don't be surprised if these guys win their first-round game in the CAA Tournament. We're much more pessimistic about their chances tonight, as ODU has won 51 straight in this series including a 13-point decision last month in Williamsburg and can tie Stanford's mastery over Washington State for longest current streak in Division I with another win tonight. Key matchup - William and Mary has made 25 3-pointers in its last 3 games (Katherine DeHenzel is 8-for-10 from long range in this span) while ODU ranks 5th in Division I in 3-point field goal defense (25 percent). By the way, six different Lady Monarchs have led the team in scoring over their last seven games, with Shadasia Green being the only one to pace the team twice over that span. So tonight, Jo Guilford, it's your turn. ODU 73, William and Mary 58

James Madison (21-6, 14-1 CAA) at Georgia State (10-15, 5-9), 7 p.m.
The first leg of a high-mileage two-game road trip for the Dukes, who will also visit Hofstra Sunday. JMU's 12-game winning streak includes a 62-55 victory over the Panthers in Harrisonburg on Feb. 3. The Panthers seemed to discover something in the second half of that game as they closed in on JMU, then returned home to win their next three. This is their first home game since that streak, so the Dukes had better take the court expecting to face an even tougher, more comfortable foe than the one they beat three weeks ago. JMU 68, Georgia State 59

Virginia Commonwealth (16-9, 11-4 CAA) at Delaware (15-11, 8-7 CAA), 7 p.m.
The Rams need just one win over their next three games to clinch at least the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in the CAA Tournament. We call this the star-watch game as both teams will have big-time talents on display. VCU star Courtney Hurt comes in having won her fifth CAA Player of the Week award this season, while guard Andrea Barbour is averaging 19.4 ppg with four 20-point games over her last eight contests. The Blue Hens counter with Elena Delle Donne, whose 24.4 ppg scoring average would lead Division I if she hadn't missed so much time with injury. VCU 70, Delaware 65

George Mason (12-14, 6-9 CAA) at Hofstra (15-11, 7-8 CAA), 2 p.m.
Frankly, we swing and miss more on these Patriots than any other CAA team. When we think they're going to play well, they tend to struggle. And when we go the other way, they often rise up and smack someone down.   This game features a contrast in styles pitting a Mason team that wants to shut people down against a Hofstra squad that wants to light folks up. Who's going to win? Beats us. So we're simply going to pick against the Patriots on the theory that odds are, they'll just go out and prove us wrong again. Hofstra 75, George Mason 70

Duke (24-3, 10-2 ACC) at Virginia (15-13, 4-8 ACC), 7 p.m.
It's Senior Night for the Cavaliers, who will honor Jayna Hartig and Paulisha Kellum prior to the game. Ideally, you'd prefer to host a much more beatable opponent on Senior Night. Then again, what could be a more memorable way for Hartig and Kellum to leave John Paul Jones Arena than in triumph over a team that has beaten U.Va. 17 straight times? Duke can be vulnerable on offense - although you couldn't tell that Sunday against Virginia Tech - so a committed Cavaliers defensive effort could keep them in it. But can Virginia score enough points? On this night, we expect Kellum in particular will have a lot to say about whether or not they can. Duke 61, Virginia 58

Virginia Tech (11-16, 1-11 ACC) at Maryland (21-6, 7-5 ACC), 7:30 p.m.
The final road game of a difficult season for the Hokies, who are just 2-7 in road games this season and are coming off Sunday's 90-40 pummeling by a Duke team Maryland just beat last week. Obviously a bleak outlook for the Hokies tonight, but we'd love to see them at least keep this competitive. Maryland 70, Virginia Tech 52

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