JMU enters Sunday evening’s matchup with Virginia coming off of a 79-74 home win over Ron Sanchez’s Charlotte 49ers to open their season. The Dukes return three players who averaged double figures last season led by Matt Lewis who dropped 22 points in Wednesday night’s game. The most clear advantage when you look on paper is the size discrepancy between JMU and the Cavaliers as the Dukes do not boast a player taller than 6-foot-8. JMU will likely rely on their outside shooting as they knocked down nine of their 26 attempts from beyond the arc in their season opener and will have to do much of the same against UVa if they plan on being competitive into the second half. Virginia feasted on Syracuse’s inability to knock down shots and will force JMU to beat them from the perimeter. Lewis, along with guard Deshon Parker who scored 17 points against Charlotte, are the catalysts for the Dukes despite combining to shoot 2-11 from 3-point range in their opener.
Why UVa will win: The defense continues where they left off in Syracuse and the offense comes alive to hit more shots from the outside in a big double-digit win against an overmatched JMU team.
Why UVa won’t win: The shooting doesn’t improve and JMU finds a way to limit Virginia’s bigs inside. Along with that, the Dukes hit timely shots from the outside and keep it a single-digit game in the second half.
Prediction: UVa 75, JMU 52
Check out the first episode of The Locker Room Access Podcast by Mark Jerome!