Fans React to Dukes Playing Against LIU in NCAA Tournament

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

James Madison University's Men's basketball fans are excited about the team participating in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

The team will play against Long Island University-Brooklyn in Ohio on Wednesday.

JMU alum Jonathan Paulo said he has been waiting for the Dukes to make it to the tournament since 1996, which is the year Paulo was a freshman.

He said this year at mid-season, he knew the team would go far.

"I'm not too surprised. I did not want to say it because I didn't want to jinx it, but in my head, I knew we were going to make it this far," said Paulo.

He said the Dukes can still go far in the NCAA.

"I just like our chances we have a good team. We have a lot of experience, a lot of seniors, a lot of athleticism. When you have athletic guys on the court, you have a good chance to get a victory," said Paulo.

Fan James Hickey said he doesn't doubt the players will give their best.

"If they play like they played on Monday night on the Championship game. They'll give anybody a handful," said Hickey.

However, Hickey does not like the fact that the Dukes will be part of the eight teams playing in what is called the "first four" games. These teams were guaranteed a spot in the NCAA, but they don't have a slot in the round of 64.

"We're a conference champion. We should be in the round of 64. We shouldn't have a hurdle in front of us," said Hickey.

Hickey who has been following the team since he was a student in the 1980's said the Dukes have come a long way.

"How could you not be excited, it has been an awfully long time," said Hickey.

Hickey said he didn't think the team would make it this far but he decided to support it by going to its games.

"We took a leap of faith and they went all the way," said Hickey.

Paulo said he hopes many fans support the purple team in Ohio, if he is not able to make it.

"I'm sure whatever purpling out we can do in Dayton, Ohio. We'll try to get that done," said Paulo.

He said Dukes' fans are usually loyal to their team.

"When you're a JMU Duke is kinda something for life," said Paulo.

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