HARRISONBURG — James Madison secured a deal with in-state powerhouse Virginia to play two games in Charlottesville and one, during the 2020-21 season, in Harrisonburg during the debut season of the Dukes’ new Atlantic Union Bank Center arena.
Nothing is certain at this point, but it’s a distinct possibility the 2019 national champion Cavaliers could be the opponent for JMU’s opener in the new arena. If so, the Dukes would be continuing a recent trend of Colonial Athletic Association teams securing marquee opponents to break in their new buildings. Here’s a look at how some of those games have gone:
Elon’s Schar Center: Nov. 9, 2018
The Phoenix landed a blue blood when North Carolina agreed to welcome in a new era of Elon basketball. The Tar Heels rolled to a 116-67 victory, but 5,245 fans crammed into a building with a listed capacity of 5,100.
Towson’s SECU Arena: Nov. 8, 2013
Navy visited Towson for the first game in SECU Arena and the Tigers triumphed 72-45 in front of 4,262 fans, less than a thousand below capacity. Towson played an opponent with a more prestigious basketball history two games later when Temple visited and the Tigers won 75-69 in front of 3,554.
College Of Charleston’s TD Arena: Nov. 14, 2008
The first college basketball game in what was then known as Carolina First Arena was actually TCU versus Western Michigan in the Charleston Classic, but the Cougars debut was a 72-67 win against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in front of 4,385 fans. A few weeks later, Charleston took down in-state rival South Carolina in overtime in front of a near sellout of 5,032.