LIU Brooklyn is a full-throttle team with shaky defense. James Madison thrives with a half-court power game and steady defense.
Which team do you think Indiana wants to play in Friday's East Region game in Dayton?
You won't hear a preference from the Hoosiers, who will face the winner of tonight's first-round game, also in Dayton. LIU Brooklyn is 20-13 and won the Northeastern Conference tourney title for a conference-record third straight year. James Madison is 20-13 and won the Colonial Athletic Association tourney championship to advance to the NCAA tourney for the first time in 19 seasons.
IU coach Tom Crean had video available on both teams soon after the pairings were announced Sunday night.
“They appear to be two contrasting styles,” he said. “I know that (James Madison's Matt Brady) and (Brooklyn's Jack Perri) are excellent coaches. They are fundamental and they won their leagues. They've won consecutive games and have gone on big runs in their leagues.
“James Madison is averaging in the 60s and LIU Brooklyn is averaging 79 points a game. James Madison is certainly one of the older teams that we will have faced. I'm not sure where they stack up in the NCAA Tournament as far as older teams, but there are quite a few fifth-year seniors on that team.”
One of those fifth-year seniors, Rayshawn Goins, the team's leading scorer (12.7 points) and rebounder (7.4) is suspended for the first half of tonight's game after being arrested for obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct in connection with a team party Saturday night.
Athletic director Jeff Bourne issued an official statement on the incident and suspension.
“After having thoroughly reviewed the details in this case, the athletic administration supports Coach Brady's decision. Appropriate action is taken based on the details of each case. There are no additional details to provide until this specific case processes through the legal system.”
The Dukes rely heavily on their fifth-year seniors. Besides Goins, they get plenty of production from 6-6 guard A.J. Davis (12.1 points), 6-4 guard Devon Moore (11.6 points, 162 assists to 77 turnovers) and 6-7 forward Andrey Semenov (10.0 points). Moore's 4.9 assist average led the NEC.
James Madison was once a mid-major team you didn't want to face. The Dukes won first-round games in 1981 (upsetting Georgetown), '82 (beating Ohio State) and '83 (defeating West Virginia). The 1982 team lost to eventual national champion North Carolina 52-50 in the second round.
James Madison averages 65.2 points a game while allowing 64.4. It ranks among the nation's best in assist-to-turnover ratio.
IU guard Victor Oladipo grew up in the CAA region and is familiar with the history of the conference and James Madison.
“It's a really good league,” he said. “They have a lot of good teams and James Madison is a good program. If they win, we'd better be ready to play.”
LIU-Brooklyn is 0-5 in NCAA tourney games. It has made the tournament three straight years, a first for a NEC team. Last year it lost its opener to Michigan State, 89-67.
The Blackbirds have won five straight games behind 6-7, 220-pound power forward Jamal Olasewere. The NEC player of the year averages 18.9 points and 8.5 rebounds. He has 1,804 points for his career.
He was supposed to get inside help from 6-7, 230-pound power forward Julian Boyd, but Boyd is out with a season-ending knee injury after averaging 18.5 points and 6.1 rebounds early on.
A strong backcourt is led by C.J. Garner and Jason Brickman. Brickman is the offensive catalyst with a nation-leading 281 assists agains 131 turnovers. He averages 9.6 points and 8.5 assists.
Garner averages 16.1 points and 4.1 rebounds. He had a career-high 31 points in the NEC title game victory and was named tourney MVP.
Brooklyn has scored at least 90 points in four straight games and ranks fifth nationally in scoring at 79.5 points. The Blackbirds led the NEC in shooting (48.4 percent from the field, 38.5 percent on three-pointers).
All that changes on defense. They allow 76.4 points and rank 319th in defensive efficiency, allowing 111.0 points per 100 possessions.
By comparison, IU ranks No. 19 in defensive efficiency by allowing 89.0 points per 100 possessions.
Both Brooklyn and James Madison are listed as No. 16 seeds. For the record, a 16th seed has never won a NCAA tourney game.