The skinny: If familiarity breeds contempt, these schools probably don’t exchange Christmas cards at the holidays. This will be the 85th meeting between these two bitter rivals.
Kent Bazemore has started to show people of late why he was the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. Slowed in non-conference play by a preseason foot injury, Bazemore averaged 18.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in ODU’s first six CAA contests. Bazemore is long, wildly athletic and a plus defender. He’s considered the CAA’s best NBA prospect this season for a reason.
The Monarchs aren’t a great offensive team, but still defend and rebound extremely well. Forward Chris Cooper is a load inside, although he’s not as polished as his predecessor, Frank Hassell. He’s also not as polished as Bradley Cooper, but really, who is?
Senior Trian Iliadis adds experience and an outside shooting stroke, while junior forward Nick Wright is another big body in the paint.
The Monarchs hasn’t really found an answer at the point and turn the ball over 16.5 times a game. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of Bazemore directing the offense, as well as Iliadis stepping in to provide a steady hand.
ODU is primarily a zone defense team, especially against VCU. That won’t change now that the Rams have essentially dared the Monarchs to play zone with a 2-of-22 performance from 3-point range against William & Mary.
Quick hitter: VCU leads the series with its arch rival 43-41. ODU has never won two straight at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The Monarchs topped VCU 70-59 here last season.