JMU roundup: CAA releases men’s hoops slate

Daily Staff Report – sports@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG — Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball league play will tip off featuring the defending champions when James Madison visits North Carolina-Wilmington on Jan. 4 to begin the 16-game league slate as announced by the CAA late Tuesday.

All listed dates as part of the league schedule remain flexible and should not be considered finalized until the release of the league’s television package in mid-October. Matchup dates are subject to change.

JMU will actually compete in the first two games of the full league schedule as the Dukes travel the Carolina coast with the Jan. 4 game at UNCW followed by a visit to South Carolina and the first-ever CAA game for the College of Charleston on Jan. 7.

With a reduction from 11 to nine teams in the CAA for the 2013-14 season, the league schedule was reduced from 18 to 16 games with every team playing a round-robin format, home and away. It will be the league’s first season with every team meeting home and away since the 2004-05 campaign prior to the arrival of Northeastern and Georgia State.

Following the southern trip, JMU opens home league play with three of its next four games in the Convocation Center, hosting Delaware Jan. 11, Northeastern Jan. 15 and Charleston Jan. 25, sandwiched around a Jan. 18 trip to William and Mary. January will close with a trip on the 29th to Northeastern.

February will begin with a Groundhog Day game at the Convo against William and Mary. That will be followed by potentially the most challenging stretch of the schedule featuring road trips to three teams expected to be near the top of the league. During an eight-day period, JMU will visit Towson Feb. 5, Drexel Feb. 8, host Hofstra on Feb. 10 and travel to Delaware on Feb. 12.

James Madison will then host three straight with UNCW on Feb. 15, Drexel on Feb. 19 and the home finale with Towson on Feb. 26. The Dukes close the regular season on March 1 at Hofstra.

The nine-team 2014 CAA Championship will be held March 7-10 at First Mariner Arena near the Baltimore Inner Harbor. JMU captured the CAA Championship last year in Richmond as the league’s No. 3 seed. It was the first CAA title for JMU in 19 years with the team defeating LIU Brooklyn in the NCAA First Four for the program’s first NCAA postseason victory in 30 years.

With the odd number of teams in the league, every team will have at least one off date. Due to JMU competing before most teams in the conference, the Dukes actually have two off dates on Wednesday, Jan. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 22.

Season tickets are on sale now with a season ticket holder priority deadline of Sept. 16. Tickets can be ordered at JMUSports.com. JMU hosts Philadelphia in an exhibition game Nov. 3 at 2:30 p.m., before opening the season Nov. 8 at Virginia. The home opener will be Nov. 19 against Detroit.