Where is James Madison University? Location, city and more to know about Dukes basketball team

No. 12 seeds did not win any March Madness games in 2023. They were 0-2 in 2024 NCAA Tournament games before James Madison snapped that losing streak with a first-round upset of Wisconsin.

The Dukes were a popular sleeper team entering the tournament after winning the Sun Belt’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They posted a 31-3 record on the season, but it wasn’t just their record that impressed college basketball fans. They earned quality wins, the most notable of which came in their season opener.

In that contest, James Madison beat No. 4 ranked Michigan State 79-76 in overtime. That helped set the Dukes up for season-long success.

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James Madison is now looking to build upon its second 14-game winning streak this season as the NCAA Tournament continues. Here’s everything to know about the mid-major school as it looks to continue its Cinderella run at 2024 March Madness.

Where is James Madison located?

James Madison University is located in Harrisonburg, Va., an independent city in the state’s Shenandoah Valley region. The school’s campus is in northern Virginia, southwest of Washington D.C. and northwest of the state capital, Richmond.

Both Washington D.C. and Richmond are roughly 130 miles from James Madison. It sits much closer to the West Virginia border (31 miles) and is just 61 miles from Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia.

James Madison has 70-plus majors and more than 139 programs of study for students to explore. It enrolls 20,346 and 1,752 graduate students, per the school’s website.

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What conference is James Madison in?

James Madison is a part of the Sun Belt conference, which has been affiliated with the NCAA’s Div. I level since 1976.

There are 14 full-time teams in the Sun Belt, all located in the southern United States. They are separated into two, seven-team divisions, the East and the West. Below is how they stack up:

East Division

  • Appalachian State
  • Coastal Carolina
  • Georgia Southern
  • Georgia State
  • James Madison
  • Marshall
  • Old Dominion

West Division

  • Arkansas State
  • Louisiana
  • Louisiana-Monroe
  • South Alabama
  • Southern Mississippi
  • Texas State
  • Troy

The Sun Belt also has several affiliate members. Most notably, SEC schools Kentucky and South Carolina house their men’s soccer teams in the Sun Belt.

The Sun Belt was originally founded as a non-football conference but that changed in 2001 when its programs joined the FBS.

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James Madison name origin

James Madison was founded in 1908 and was originally named the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg. The school was originally a teacher’s college but expanded its offerings throughout the 20th century.

Eventually, the school was renamed Madison College in 1938 to honor the fourth president of the United States, James Madison. It eventually became known as James Madison University in 1977.

Madison was nicknamed “the Father of the Constitution,” as he helped draft and promote the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. He aligned closely with Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, under whom he served as Secretary of State and formed the Democratic-Republican party, in opposition to Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Party.

Notably, Madison guided the United States through the War of 1812, becoming the only president ever to lead troops in battle.

James Madison University’s website writes that its goal in honoring Madison’s legacy is achieved by “preparing individuals to be active and responsible participants in a representative democracy dedicated to the common good.”

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James Madison NCAA Tournament history

James Madison is playing in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in program history in 2024. The Dukes last appeared in the tournament as a First Four team in 2013. They beat Long Island University (LIU) in that contest before losing to No. 1 seed Indiana.

Before the victory over LIU, James Madison hadn’t won a tournament game since 1983. The school snapped its 41-year first-round drought by beating No. 5 seed Wisconsin in March Madness 2024.

Below is a look at James Madison’s NCAA Tournament history:

Tournament Result Final game
1981 Lost in second round 54-45 vs. No. 2 Notre Dame
1982 Lost in second round 52-50 vs. No. 1 UNC
1983 Lost in second round 68-49 vs. No. 2 UNC
1994 Lost in first round 64-62 vs. No. 3 Florida
2013 Lost in second round* 83-62 vs. No. 1 Indiana
2024 Into second round 72-61 win over No. 5 Wisconsin

*The NCAA Tournament’s first round was known as the second round from 2011 to 2015 after the institution of the First Four. So, while James Madison made it to the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the school didn’t get past the Round of 64.


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