The Monarchs. By the name alone, you know they're not messing around. The Monarchs picked up their fifth conference title last night by holding off good ol' Bill & Mary in the CAA title game, 60-53. The low-scoring affair was nothing new for ODU. Nobody from the CAA played better defense than these guys. Fifty-seven points per game allowed. Less than 30 percent beyond the 3-point line. Held opponents to 40 percent from the field. Whichever team draws the Monarchs in the first round is going to let out quite the audible groan. Get ready for a street fight, because this team will beat you the Wisconsin way. In fact, though it wouldn't be the best television watch, we'd love it if, somehow, the Badgers and Monarchs managed to meet up later this month. The hardwood equivalent to a pitcher's duel.
And ODU is going to be a trendy pick. Beating Georgetown at the Hoyas' campus will do that for you. Sometimes, time flies. We can't believe it's been three years since we last saw this team dancing. Seems like Greg Gumbel calls out their name almost every Selection Sunday, but that's not been that case. We think it's safe to say this is the best Monarchs team in quite some time.
Player to know: Gerald Lee puts up 15 points per game in an offense that doesn't need him to do so in order to be proficient. Like a lot of mid-majors, ODU is a sum-is-greater-than-the-parts type of team. Four guys in the starting lineup contribute to five top-10 categories in the CAA. But Lee's name will be the one getting the most ink on opposing teams' scouting reports.
»Record: 26-8, 15-3 Colonial Athletic Association
»Team colors: slate blue, silver and light blue
»We're thinking: a 9-seed
»KenPom ranking: 34
»Best win: @ Georgetown (20-9)
»Worst loss: @ George Mason (17-14)
»Notable stat: In every game but two this season, if a team scored 70 points on the Monarchs, it won. Keep the tempo up and the game could get away from these guys.
»Most recent tournament history (10 total appearances):
-2007 (12-seed): L first round to Butler, 57-46.
-2005 (12-seed): L first round to Michigan State, 89-81.