Coastal Carolina (19-11) at Old Dominion (20-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Constant Convocation Center (8,639) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: None. CIT Record: Coastal Carolina 0-0, Old Dominion 5-0. Series Record: Old Dominion leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: A former champion will make its return to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament when the Old Dominion Monarchs welcomes the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers to the Constant Convocation Center for first-round action of the fourth-annual event this evening.
In the inaugural CIT during the 2008-2009 season, Old Dominion rolled through the 24-team field with five wins and notched a postseason tournament title. The Monarchs have not been back since, while Coastal Carolina will be getting its first taste of the this particular event.
Coastal Carolina will be representing the Big South in the postseason, a conference the Chanticleers did very well in this season with a 12-6 mark to go with a 19-11 overall ledger. Coastal Carolina's season was marred down the stretch however, by losses in six of the last eight games, including an 86-68 drubbing by VMI in the conference tournament's opening round.
Old Dominion put together another solid season in the Colonial Athletic Association after winning the conference title the previous season. The Monarchs entered the CAA Tournament as the fourth seed with a 13-5 league record but only advanced past the first round before losing regular-season champion Drexel 68-51. Still with the first round win the Monarchs pushed themselves to 20 wins on the season.
Despite shooting a solid 51.0 percent in the Big South Tournament against VMI, Coastal Carolina still wasn't even close on the scoreboard, as the Keydets were that much better connecting on 57.1 percent of their shots from the floor while outscoring the Chanticleers by an astounding 42-15 margin from beyond the arc.
Coastal Carolina was not an overwhelming offensive team in terms of scoring this season (72.7 ppg) but the squad was stellar in its efficiency, as the Chanticleers ranked seventh in Division I in field goal percentage (.488), while leading the conference on the boards (37.9 rpg). Junior forward Sam McLaurin (9.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg) was one of the best players in the Big South at finishing around the rim, as he ranked at the top of the conference in field goal percentage (.641). Anthony Raffa (16.7 ppg) is the team's best pure scorer and finished the season ranked sixth in the Big South in points per game. Senior forward Chris Gradnigo (14.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg) was another consistent scorer and was also a strong rebounder for the Chanticleers. Jon Pack (7.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg) while not much of a scoring threat, gives the team rebounding depth.
Old Dominion can attest to how strong a team Drexel is after falling 68-51 in the quarterfinals of the CAA Tournament. The Monarchs converted on only 33.3 percent of its field goal attempts including a ghastly 3-for-18 performance from beyond the arc and surprisingly fell on the short end of a 40-37 rebounding differential.
The Monarchs excelled in two areas this season; defense and rebounding. The squad allowed only 61.6 points per game which off set the lackluster offense (65.5 ppg). However. the real strength of the team was in crashing the boards. Old Dominion ranked at the top of the CAA and seventh in Division I in the category (40.1 pg). Leading the charge for Old Dominion is one of the more versatile players in the CAA this season; Kent Bazemore. The senior has the height to play inside and out and finished the season leading the team in scoring (15.4 ppg) and assists (3.2 apg) while also tallying the second most rebounds (5.9 rpg). Chris Cooper (10.7 ppg, 10.2 rpg) is a double-double threat every time he gets on the court and finished the season ranked second in the conference in rebounding.
Coastal Carolina was a pretty good team in a less than stellar conference this season, while Old Dominion came away with similar results in the CAA, which has separated itself as one of the strongest mid-major conferences in recent years. Expect Bazemore and Cooper to lead the Monarchs to victory this evening.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Old Dominion 73 Coastal Carolina 58
03/13 10:41:53 ET