Non Baseball post.
Just a quick shout out to my alma mater James Madison University, who won the CAA tournament on 3/11/13 and returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time in nearly 20 years. To say that JMU has not been an impact school in the basketball world is a slight understatement; they hadn’t even made the CAA tourney final since 1997. They only managed to win the CAA tournament in 1994 by virtue of a last-gasp 3-pointer to win the game 77-76 by star-turned-states’ witness Kent Culuko.
Since JMU last was in the NCAA tournament, they fired Lefty Dreisell, who was brought in to revolutionize the program with his reputation and give it national credence but managed just one appearance in his 9 years at the school (he clearly could recruit better than he could coach, a statement many old-school University of Maryland fans probably agree with too). Since Dreisell’s departure JMU has gone through a series of medicore coaches with even more mediocre results. They are also in the midst of a horrid stretch against their biggest CAA rival, George Mason, who have won 9 straight versus JMU and an astonishing 18 of the last 19 meetings. This is nearly a complete reversal of the series outcomes for the first decade or so of this rivalry and does a good job of stating just how far the two teams’ fortunes have diverged.
The CAA has grown up in the last decade without JMU’s involvement, with Mason and VCU making final fours and teams like ODU, UNC Wilmington and Richmond (now with the A-10) routinely reaching the tournament and getting marquee wins. JMU was a great team in the early 80s, making three straight NCAA tournaments AND winning a game in each of those tournaments, but has just one NCAA appearance (in 1994) since. That’s 30 years, one tournament apperance.
Lets hope they get a decent seeding and can take out a #3 or #4 seed.