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Get To Know A Marquette Basketball Opponent: Jacksonville

Shouts to Jason Mendoza.

A common bottlenose dolphin is seen during a show at the... Photo by John Milner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Name: Jacksonville University

Founded: 1934

Well, Not Entirely: JU started as William Porter University in 1934 and then became Jacksonville Junior College in 1935. It took them until 1950 to have a permanent fixed location as a school, and after merging with the Jacksonville College of Music in 1958, the name became the modern and current Jacksonville University in 1959.

Location: Jacksonville, Florida, obviously.

In The News: On Tuesday, Jacksonville announced that they were shuttering their FCS football program. They’ve been a part of the Pioneer League — which does not allow for scholarships for football — since 1998. The press release says that they “arrived at this decision after a data-driven evaluation of Division I intercollegiate athletics.” I don’t think they’ll be the last team to do this.

On an unrelated note, the Dolphins went 3-9 this year, which was just their second straight sub-.500 season.

You Don’t See This Often: JU has the second largest Navy ROTC program in the entire country and the longest running program in the state of Florida. Given the city’s positioning along the Atlantic coast line, this actually makes a lot of sense.

Enrollment: 4,200, approximately, with about 3,200 of those as undergraduates.

Nickname: Dolphins

Why “Dolphins?” I’ll like explain:

In 1947, years before Jacksonville Junior College became Jacksonville University, a contest was held to stimulate school spirit and to choose a nickname for the College’s newly-organized basketball team. Numerous names were suggested, including Green Raiders, Buccaneers, Juggernauts and Green Dragons, but on Dec. 12, 1947, the winner, Green Dolphins, was announced.

It was later shortened to just Dolphins, but that still makes JU the first team in America to carry that nickname. Buncha lowlifes down in Miami ripped them off in 1966.

JU actually had a live dolphin mascot from 1970 through 2014. Nellie first gained fame from this Timex commercial in 1961:

Notable Alumni: Leonard Skinner, a Jacksonville area high school gym teacher that became the namesake for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Blah blah Artis Gilmore blah blah who cares that Lynyrd Skynyrd story is GREAT.

Last Season: Finished 12-20, with a 5-11 record in the A-Sun. They lost their first conference tournament game to Liberty to end their season with five straight losses.

Final 2018-19 Ranking: #247

This Season: 4-5, although one of those wins was against a non-Division 1 opponent. They lost by 19 in their opener to Xavier, and are coming off a 61-45 road win against North Carolina A&T.

Current Ranking: #254

Stat Leaders

Points: David Bell, 12.2 ppg
Rebounds: David Bell, 10.6 rpg
Assists: Aamahne Santos, 3.8 apg

Shooters? Keeping in mind that JU has played a non-D1 opponent, we’re going to use to figure this out, since that’s D1 only stats. Anywho, 5’10” Aamahne Santos is the guy two watch, as he has drained 38% of his 40 attempts on the season. That’s only second best on the team in attempts, but 6’7” Destin Barnes (46 attempts) is only converting 30% of his shots. As a team, Jacksonville only shoots 32.1% from long range, which is, y’know, not ideal. They also don’t rely too heavily on it, ranking right about in the middle of the country in volume at #143 thus far this season.

Bigs? Well, if you read the stat leader section, then you probably already guessed that we’d be talking about David Bell down here. Bell measures in at 6’10” and 225 pounds and has posted a double-double in each of Jacksonville’s last four games. After spending his first two collegiate seasons at Ohio State, he’s been tearing it up for the Dolphins in the past 39 games. He was one of the best rebounders in the country last season, ranking #85 according to KenPom in offensive rate and #104 in defensive rate, and he juuuuuuuust barely missed the top 100 in block rate. He’s currently the second best defensive rebounder in the country, with 37.2% of opponents misses while he’s on the court ending up in his hands. The fact that he’s blocking 9.8% of shots while he’s on the court — #33 in the country in block rate — is probably doing a lot to boost those defensive rebounding numbers.

There’s no one else on the roster taller than 6’7”, so if Marquette can figure out a way to neutralize Bell, things are going to go pretty well for the Golden Eagles. Junior Kevin Norman is having a quality campaign in terms of defensive rebounding rate, but he’s only 6’4”.

Head Coach: Tony Jasick, in his sixth season at Jacksonville and ninth season overall as a head coach. He has a record of 74-97 with the Dolphins and 126-44 overall.

All Time Series: Marquette is 2-0 against Jacksonville with both contests occurring in Milwaukee. The first meeting was in February 1972 with MU taking the 88-79 win, while the final score was 88-56 in November 2011. I guess we should officially make this game The Score Exactly 88 Points Against Jacksonville Challenge.