VCU topped Old Dominion 68-64 last season in Norfolk.

VCU topped Old Dominion 68-64 last season in Norfolk.

RICHMOND, Va. – Let’s not sugarcoat it. Old Dominion Basketball is navigating some choppy waters these days.

Tuesday’s 80-53 loss to Richmond, the Monarchs’ worst defeat in the 11-year history of the Ted Constant Convocation Center, was the most recent and painful blow to a season that has opened with a resounding thud. ODU, which won the Colonial Athletic Association title as recently as 2010, is 1-7, including home losses to UT-San Antonio, Holy Cross and VMI. The Monarchs have lost six straight.

VCU Coach Shaka Smart has seen the film of ODU’s struggling offense and uncharacteristically porous defense. None of it has walked him back from what he knows to be true: the Monarchs are dangerous. On Friday, the Rams (5-3) will walk into the den of a wounded animal. The Monarchs will be angry, hungry and will have a packed house behind them.

“It’s VCU-ODU, so if our guys think the game is going to come easily, then they’re not in the right frame of mind,” Smart said. “I think our guys have a lot of respect for Old Dominion, particularly the older guys that have been around.”

Smart is referring to players like seniors Troy Daniels, David Hinton and Darius Theus, who likely haven’t forgotten the sting of losing the 2010 CAA Championship Game to Old Dominion or the 68-64 barnburner the Rams won last season at the Constant Center.