Meet the Monarchs

IrishEyes offers a statistical review of Notre Dame's first-round opponent, Old Dominion.

Part I of our preview of Thursday's first-round NCAA battle vs. Old Dominion examines the 11th seed Monarchs…by the numbers.

Monarchs at a Glance

  • Conference: Colonial Athletic – Collectively, the CAA is 19-31 all-time in NCAA Tournament play (since 1982 when it was known as the ECAC South). George Mason qualified for the NCAA Final Four in 2006 as a member of the Colonial Athletic. The conference was an aggregate 6-12 from 2000-2009 with Old Dominion finishing 0-2 in the Field of 64 in that span.
  • Record: 26-8 (15-3 in conference). 1-6 vs. non-conference foes that qualified for the NCAA or NIT.
  • Best Wins: at Georgetown; William & Mary (2-0); George Mason (1-1) and Virginia Commonwealth (2-1 in three meetings). William & Mary qualified for the NIT.
  • Losses: Missouri (neutral); Mississippi State (neutral); at Richmond; at Dayton; at George Mason; at Northeastern; at Virginia Commonwealth; at Northern Iowa
  • Worst Loss: VCU was not selected for the NIT.
  • Like Opponents: Both the Monarchs and the Irish defeated Georgetown in road contests, with Old Dominion winning 61-57 in December and Notre Dame prevailing 78-64 in late February.
  • RPI: 27 (Notre Dame is 49 entering the tournament). For the sake of reference, Kansas is No. 1; Baylor (a possible 2nd round opponent of the Irish) is No. 9; Michigan State is No. 28 and Marquette's is No. 50. The RPI measures a team's winning percentage (25% of the formula); its opponents' winning percentage (50%) and its opponents' opponents' winning percentage (25%)

Relevant Team Rankings:

Old Dominion averaged 67.5 points per game while allowing 57.1 for the season. In six matchups vs. NCAA and/or NIT-bound non-conference foes (Missouri, Richmond, Mississippi State, Dayton, Georgetown, and Northern Iowa), they were outscored 388 to 349 (64.6 to 58.1).

  • Rebound Margin: The Monarchs finished 3rd nationally, protecting the glass with an 8.8 rebound gap vs. their 34 overall opponents. Eleven of the top 20 finishers in this category qualified for the NCAA Tournament, with just two (Cincinnati and Southern Mississippi) missing the field from major or mid-major conferences.

    ODU more than held its own vs. its six top-tier opponents this season (Georgetown, Missouri, Richmond, Mississippi State, Dayton, and Northern Iowa), losing the collective rebound battle vs. those foes, 166 to 160 over six contests.

  • Scoring Defense: Old Dominion ranked 5th in this bottom-line category, limiting opponents to 57.1 points per game. The Monarchs held Georgetown to a 19-44 shooting effort (44.2 percent) including a 5-17 performance from beyond the arc in their December 19 win over the Hoyas in D.C.

    Three other tournament opponents: Missouri, Richmond, and Northern Iowa, shot 37 percent, 47.5 percent, and 46.8 percent respectively (in wins) against the Monarchs.

  • Field Goal Percentage Defense: The Monarchs rank 39th nationally, holding opponents to 40.1 percent for the season. Three Irish opponents ranked ahead of Old Dominion in the category: Connecticut at 39.3 percent, Syracuse at 39.9 percent and Pittsburgh at 40 percent. The Irish finished 3-2 vs. the Huskies, Orange and the Panthers.

  • Scoring Margin: Old Dominion ranked 23rd nationally in scoring margin, outpacing their collective opponents by 10.4 points per game. The Irish outscored opponents by 7.1 per contest.

  • Three-Point FG Percentage Defense: ODU limited opponents to an even 30 percent clip from long range, good for 18th in the nation. Power conference opponents Georgetown, Missouri, Richmond, Dayton, Mississippi State (a near-miss for the NCAA Tournament) and Northern Iowa shot an aggregate 41 of 110 (37.2 percent) from beyond the arc in six games vs. the Monarchs.

  • Assist-to-Turnover Ratio: The Monarchs finished 33rd in this category, one in which the Irish have fared well over the last six years of the Mike Brey era (finishing 3rd this season though their drop from 1st coincided with the team's six-game winning streak).

  • Team Free Throw Percentage: ODU ranks an alarming 294th entering the tournament, connecting at a 64.5 percent clip for the season. (Notre Dame ranks 63rd in the category, hitting 72.3 percent of its foul shots this year). Two Tournament teams: Texas and San Diego State, hit a lower percentage of their freebies than did the Monarchs. (Though Winthrop, Florida State, and Georgia Tech were all in the Monarchs low-rent district among the nation's worst free throw marksmen.)

Monarch Team Leaders:

ODU's eight-man rotation features two seniors, four juniors, and two sophomores.
  • Scoring: Gerald Lee – 14.6 points per game. The 6'10" 250-pound senior from Finland scored a career high 26 points in a Colonial Athletic Association semifinal overtime win over Virginia Commonwealth.
  • Rebounds: Frank Hassell – 6.6 per game. The 6'8" 245-pound junior posted a season-high 15 boards at UNC-Wilmington during a 3-game stretch in which he collected 39 caroms in 80 game minutes. Hassell accounted for just 17 boards in the Monarchs' five games vs. power conference foes, with the high-water mark occurring at Georgetown (7 rebounds).
  • Assists: Darius James – 3.4 per game. The 6'1" junior point guard had 14 assists vs. 5 turnovers in the Monarchs' run through the CAA Tournament. 6'5" swingman Kent Bazemore averaged 3.3 assists per game as well.
  • Steals: Kent Bazemore – 1.9 per game. Posted eight games with three or more thefts, including a 6-steal effort vs. Georgia State.
  • Blocked Shots: Frank Hassell – 1.0 per game. Hassell blocked one shot (Northern Iowa) vs. ODU's six top-tier opponents.
  • Field Goal Percentage: Hassell 54.7 percent and Lee 54.1 percent – Hassell does all of his work around the basket while Lee stepped out to nail 7 of his 11 3-point attempts this season.
  • Free Throw Percentage: Lee connected at a 76.1 percent rate on a team-high 159 attempts. Most of the Monarchs that receive minutes shot in the 64 to 67 percent range.
  • Three-Point FG Percentage: Keyon Carter – 35.3 percent. None of the Monarchs qualified nationally but Carter connected on 24 of his 68 shots from beyond the arc. Ben Finney (34-108) and Darius James (33-111) are the team's most prolific three-point shooters, though senior guard Marsharee Neely hoisted 90 three-point shots (hitting 27) in just over 16 minutes per game.

Note: IrishEyes will have more on the matchup with the Monarchs throughout the week, including a full-game preview on Thursday morning.

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