James Madison is partying like it’s 1994. The Dukes will be dancing for the first time since that year, after capturing the Colonial Athletic Association championship by throttling Northeastern on Monday night.
1. It was originally a women’s college. Established as The State Normal and Industrial School for Women, the school underwent four name changes before finally settling on James Madison University in 1975. (It had been Madison College since 1938).
2. They’re horrible on offense. At least statistically. The Dukes rank 235th nationally in points per game (65.2), 251st in assists per game (11.7) and 241st in field goal percentage (.420). They also rank 253rd in rebounding (32.7 per). Granted, some of those numbers reflect the Dukes’ grind-it-out pace, but still.
3. They started out 1-5. James Madison didn’t exactly look like an NCAA Tournament team at the beginning of the year, losing by 30 at UCLA, by 22 to North Dakota State and by 18 to Miami (OH). But they’ve turned it on of late, winning 4 straight games and hammering league champion Northeastern, 70-57, in the CAA title game.
4. The CAA champ has won at least one game in each of the past 3 NCAA Tournaments. VCU, which now plays in the Atlantic 10, knocked off Wichita State in the first round last season. The Rams went all the way to the Final Four in 2011. Old Dominion defeated Notre Dame in the first round in 2010.
5. Lefty Driesell once coached the Dukes. The Lefthander came up in our five facts about Davidson also. Driesell landed at James Madison in 1988 after he was let go by Maryland following Len Bias’ tragic death. Driesell was the coach the last time James Madison appeared in the NCAAs.