James Madison starts the college basketball season Wednesday with both the Dukes men’s and women’s teams making their 2019-20 debuts at the Convocation Center.
The JMU women will tip off against Longwood at 5 p.m. with the men set to follow with a game against Charlotte scheduled for 7:30.
The Dukes didn’t host any such doubleheaders last season, but it’s not a new phenomenon at the Convo. JMU opened the 2017-18 season with the men playing Bridgewater College followed by the women’s team against Rutgers.
Such a setup has potential to boost attendance for both teams — one ticket is good for both contests Wednesday — but it also changes up the logistical operation of preparing for a game. Not that either JMU coach seems to mind.
“You have to be ready to adapt to the situation,” men’s coach Louis Rowe said. “Obviously, you go to the conference tournament and you don’t have an hour to warm up. You’ve got to be prepared to play the game. Our guys will be ready to get into the mindset.”
The Dukes have two early-season doubleheaders this month. The JMU men will play host to Shenandoah at 5 p.m. on Nov. 13 with the women featured in the nightcap with No. 4 Maryland visiting Harrisonburg.
JMU women’s coach Sean O’Regan agreed the set up might eventually help get the teams ready for tournament play later in the season.
“I know for some people it can be an annoyance because of the crowd and parking an all that stuff,” O’Regan said. “For me, it doesn’t bother me. In a tournament setting, which is what we are preparing all year for, you’re going to have to that. You’re going to have to adapt to whatever it is. Whether we’re playing the early game or only have 30 minutes to warm up, I think you can take something from both of those experiences.”
More TV Games For Dukes
On Monday, JMU announced six additional televised games for the 2019-20 season, three each for the men and women, in addition to the Colonial Athletic Association media rights deals.
The Dukes partnered with MASN and SNY to bring games to regional television, beginning with the Nov. 13 women’s home game against Maryland on MASN. JMU women’s games against UNC Wilmington on Feb. 16 and Drexel on Feb. 28 will also be available on MASN and SNY.
The JMU men’s games against Delaware on Jan. 9, UNCW on Feb. 1 and Elon on Feb. 20 will also be shown on both MASN and SNY.
“It’s critical that we continue to maximize exposure for each of our programs and we are pleased that we could expand our television strategy to basketball for the first time,” JMU athletic director Jeff Bourne said in a statement released Monday. “This is an important year for both programs as we build momentum and prepare for the transition to the Atlantic Union Bank Center next November. We are grateful to our medial partners at MASN and SNY as they continue to show interest in James Madison athletics.”
The Colonial Athletic Association package includes dozens of conference games streaming on FloSports, which purchased the rights to CAA contests last spring, and 11 regular-season games on national linear television thanks to a deal with CBS Sports Network. That includes two JMU men’s games, Jan. 2 at UNCW and Jan. 30 versus College of Charleston.