Old Dominion Monarchs
Colonial Athletic Association (26-8, 15-3)
Big Wins: 12/19 at Georgetown (61-57), 12/23 Charlotte (81-48), 1/23 at William & Mary (58-55)
Bad Losses: 11/28 vs Mississippi State (55-69), 1/2 at George Mason (55-71), 1/30 at Northeastern (64-74)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, First Round loss to Butler
Coach: Blaine Taylor (0-2 in 2 NCAA appearances)
Why They Can Surprise:
Coach Blaine Taylor always makes sure his team plays solid defense. That is why Old Dominion is a consistent contender in the Colonial Athletic Association. This year is no different as the Monarchs allowed a mere 57.3 points per game and allowed the opposition to shoot just 40.1 percent from the floor.
The other thing ODU usually does well is rebound. And as usual it has been a team effort during the 2009-2010 campaign. Gerald Lee is the obvious star of the team and will grab his fair share of boards. Lee is also a very consistent interior scorer who will also cause problems for the opposition on the other end of the court with his ability to block shots and grab some steals. Frank Hassell is the other usual starter in the frontcourt. The 6-8, 245 pound junior is another tough rebounder and is a pretty good interior scorer as well. Keyon Carter has started a handful of games this season and averages 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds. Wing Ben Finney is the player that really makes ODU so special on the glass. The 6-5 wing averages 8.8 points per game, but is also a tenacious rebounder and ranks second on the team with 5.9 rebounds per contest.
Why They Can Disappoint:
ODU is not going to score a lot because they like to slow down the tempo and force the opposition to work on the offensive and defensive end of the floor, but the offense can be just painful at times, especially when it comes to outside shooting. Finney is the most prolific shooter on the team and he averages just one three-pointer per game. Kent Bazemore, another tall wing, shoots under 30 percent from long range and Darius James and Marsharee Neely are no better. Luckily the team as a whole takes very few three-pointers, but their shooting percentage from long range is just awful.
Who To Watch:
James at least is the point guard who can create opportunities for his teammates. He might take way too many shots himself when he should be attacking the basket and finding his teammates, but in general he is relatively productive and will put his teammates in a good position to score. Bazemore is also a good passer for his size and, unlike most of the team, he will use his size and speed to get to the basket. However, Bazemore shoots a dismal 47.2 percent from the charity stripe, so attacking the basket is not the best thing he does, but it is better than shooting a bad three-pointer.
Darius James, Junior, Guard, 7.1 ppg, 3.4 apg
Kent Bazemore, Sophomore, Guard, 8.4 ppg, 3.3 apg, 4.2 rpg
Ben Finney, Junior, Guard, 8.8 ppg, 2.4 apg, 5.9 rpg
Frank Hassell, Junior, Forward, 8.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Gerald Lee, Senior, Forward, 14.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Keyon Carter, Junior, Forward, 7.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Trian Iliadis, Sophomore, Guard, 3.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg
Marsharee Neely, Senior, Guard, 5.8 ppg, 1.0 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.8 (203rd in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.3 (6, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.0 (93, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.1 (42, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.5 (306, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: na
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.7 (288, 10)
Rebound Margin: 9.0 (3, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.5 (29, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (106, 6)
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