For the college basketball geeks among our readers, here's where JMU and its state peers have ranked in college basketball over the last decade, according to the respected kenpom.com ratings:
First, the 10-year average (ranking among Division I's 351 teams):
Now, the average over the last five seasons:
Finally, the highs and lows for each school:
Conclusions: VCU began its rise under Anthony Grant (now at Alabama) and became a national contender under Shaka Smart (who, to everyone's surprise, keeps turning down huge raises to stay at VCU, where he DOES make more than $1 million annually); the Rams now challenge big-leaguer Virginia for state supremacy. Jim Larranaga (now at Miami) built George Mason into a top 100 program, but the Patriots -- despite their 2006 Final Four appearance -- never reached the consistency of VCU under Smart. Richmond got just good enough under John Beilein (now at Michigan) to warrant a move (along with Mason and VCU eventually) to the Atlantic 10 in 2001 and remain respectable, though a decided second banana in its own city. Blaine Taylor guided ODU to top-100 status for many of his 12 seasons, but things went downhill and he was fired in 2013; the Monarchs, under former Virginia coach Jeff Jones, appear to be on the upswing. W&M, in the severely weakened Colonial Athletic Assocation, might begin to prosper a bit more. JMU? It hasn't consistently won since the Lefty Driesell era, and the program has lost two starters since another 20-loss season ended in March; with a move to Division I-A football likely, the Dukes probably will be in a new conference soon (though only marginally better than the CAA).