James Madison wins again further afield, while things don't go well on a #MEACMonday ...
February is almost here and the Dukes of JMU are in sole possession of second place in the CAA. Not sure anyone quite saw that coming.
It's easy to quibble over whether that's a function of whether James Madison is much improved over last season (which, with a healthier roster, is undeniable) or simply a reflection of the sorry state of the CAA this season (also pretty much accepted as fact).
Regardless of the reason, the Dukes (12-10, 6-3) have managed three impressive recoveries this season. After a 1-5 start, they rattled off six wins in a seven games, with the lone loss a one-point setback against Richmond. They won consecutive games after back-to-back losses earlier this month.
And now, after road stumbles at George Mason and Towson, Madison has won three straight --- including a 63-56 triumph at UNC Wilmington on Monday.
Things could still go in any number of directions and could yet end with a change in direction for the program (remember, coach Matt Brady is in the final year of his contract and was in a tenuous position even last year), but the Dukes will be in the mix in Richmond come March.
Local MEAC schools
There's no reason to pick on anyone individually, since Morgan State understandably fell to North Carolina Central and Coppin State suffered a one-point loss at North Carolina A&T. But toss in Howard, and the three MEAC schools in Baltimore and Washington are now a combined 6-14 in league play.
The good news all around: Coppin, Howard and Morgan will at least have the chance to get well at home with this week's cycle of Saturday/Monday games.
NUMBER OF NOTE
Schools in Maryland, Virginia and the District ranked in this week's Associated Press poll, the first time that's been the case since Nov. 19. There have been four DMV-free weeks this season, nearly matching the total from the last three seasons combined (five).
ON TAP TUESDAY
There's action further afield, with Virginia (14-5, 4-2 ACC) looking to win its fourth conference home game in as many tries when N.C. State visits Charlottesville. ... In the Big South, Liberty (6-15, 2-5) plays host to division leader Campbell.
--- Patrick Stevens