Towson (1-5) at Elon (2-4) – Video Stream – 7:00
Towson has lost nine of ten, with the one win coming against Elon back on January 5th. The Phoenix has lost three straight since beating William & Mary two weeks ago. As you can tell, both these teams really need a W.
Pat Skerry’s squad forced Elon into what was, at the time, its slowest game of the season (62 possessions). We’ll see if things are different in the next installment of tortoise versus hare. Pace will be the determining factor here, as Elon has struggled against slower-paced teams. If Towson takes care of the ball and cashes in at the free-throw line, it might have a chance.
The Phoenix’s performance in the final 10 minutes at JMU provided a bit of optimism. If Matt Matheny’s team can push the tempo, it can get a Towson team that struggles protecting the ball to give up some easy buckets.
This one might be ugly, and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will win. Give me the home team in a low-scoring slobberknocker.
Phoenix 14, Tigers 12
James Madison (4-2) at Northeastern (5-1) – Video Stream – 7:00
This feels like a complete redux from when these guys met two weeks ago. JMU enters this game as it did the last – having won its past two conference games against lesser competition, and seeking to prove itself against a contender.
Northeastern has the more talented starting five, but JMU’s team-oriented approach has helped the Post-Nation Era start of out on a positive. Yohanny Dalembert is shooting 33-of-47 (70.2%) in conference play, and while I think he should get more touches, you don’t want to mess with that kind of efficiency.
Meanwhile, Northeastern has a four-game conference winning streak, but just dropped a random nonconference home game against Detroit. The result was ultimately negligible, but Northeastern’s free-throw shooting (37-of-59, 62.7%) in the past two games has been a cause for concern. It held the Huskies back last season, and a team that doesn’t get much help from its bench needs to capitalize on the easy opportunities.
I want to pick the Dukes, but they’ve had trouble closing out games. I’m thinking the Huskies will squeak out a close one.
NU 65, JMU 62