Fluff, and then: Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Old Dominion Monarchs…

You want fun? Try sitting in the Newark airport for two hours, then having your flight delayed for nearly two more hours. It’s interesting just to sit back and watch people. See how they interact with their environment. Really, people are funny and they don’t even know it.

And I got to re-read some of my favorite parts of Cinderella and lament not doing a better job.

But I digress, because practice–actual practice–begins in four days. Games–actual games–are less than a month away. (Side note: since when did college basketball begin play the first week of November. I love the sport, but geez…)

***

INDEX (if only to keep me from about the same team twice):

Delaware

George Mason

Towson

***

 Old Dominion

Place Range: 3rd to 6th

Gutsy Pick: 3rd

Why I Like Them Here: It starts with a factor every coach needs to win: talent. Blaine Taylor has just plain talent on that roster. Sure, Old Dominion is replacing significant achievers. But the Monarchs have someone poised to step into every role. Brandon Johnson can do everything on a basketball floor except shoot. Fine, because his harrassing defense and JJ Barea-like attacking style make him very dangerous. Marsharee Neely had the kind of freshman season that makes for a good sophomore season. Abdi Lidonde knows his role and can play to it. Same for Brian Henderson. And of course, Gerald Lee is a budding star in the CAA. Then you add a very talented and athletic freshman class. In all, Blaine Taylor has a lot of parts, and I know enough about Blaine Taylor to know those parts will be blended well.

Why I Could Be Wrong: As much as I like Brandon Johnson, he is no Drew Williamson. From another perspective, he is no Isaiah Hunter, either. Leaders are leaders, but you need a leader that can flat fill it up when needed. I don’t see that on this roster. ODU will keep a lot of teams in games. If Sam Harris (there’s the obligatory Sam Harris mention for you ODU fans) does not improve, ODU is very thin up front. Bigger teams can push around their athletes. If Brian Henderson shoots around 35% from three (and Lidonde, too) expect a ton of zone around Lee and a ton of 58-55 games.

Oh Schedule-Maker, Why Doth Thou Curse Us: The first thing we’ll point out is the death march noncon schedule that includes North Carolina, Georgetown (at home!), Clemson, and Virginia Tech. But I’m not convinced that’s anything but excitement for the players, even if ODU goes about 4-7 in noncon. The schedule-maker was actually quite nice to Taylor. January 16 is a home game against JMU that is a trap–ODU comes off a two-game road swing and has VCU just after the JMU game. Otherwise, games are evenly spaced and there’s no real grind portion. I kinda like that for them.

Outlook: This team gets more interesting the deeper you look, using “what if” scenarios. What if they play well in the noncon, build confidence, and roll into a nice conference schedule? What if they get tatered in the noncon and drop a couple of early conference games? ODU bears watching because they combine an interesting schedule with an interesting mix of players and roles. So I’ll fall back no the first thing I wrote. Talent. Guesstimate: 12-6 to 14-4.

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~ by mglitos on October 9, 2007.

3 Responses to “Fluff, and then: Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Old Dominion Monarchs…”

  1. Can’t argue with that at all. I keep wondering if/when some underachieving BCS school is going to take Blaine and his mustache away from us.

  2. Nice analysis. Only one player who could be an x factor for the Monarachs,Frank Hassell who you did not mention at all. If he can give the quality PT the staff expects Gerald Lee will be all the better.

  3. […] Old Dominion […]

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