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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 7, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Constant Convocation Center (9,520) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: VCU 3-1, ODU 1-4. Away Record: VCU 1-0, ODU 0-3. Neutral Record: VCU 1-2, ODU 0-0. Conference Record: VCU 0-0, ODU 0-0. Series Record: Virginia Commonwealth leads, 45-42.
GAME NOTES: Former conference rivals will square off on Friday night when the Old Dominion Monarchs play host to the Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Virginia.
VCU's first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference got off to a shaky start with three losses in its first six games, albeit to very good teams in Wichita State (53-51), Duke (67-58) and Missouri (68-65). Since returning from the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, the Rams have won back-to-back games over Stetson (92-56) and Belmont (75-65) to move to 5-3 overall.
After a 22-win campaign a season ago, few could have imagined ODU starting the 2012-13 season at 1-7, with its only win coming at home against Morgan State on Nov. 10, 72-61. The Monarchs are mired in a six-game losing streak, the team most recently falling to Richmond on Tuesday, 80-53.
Virginia Commonwealth owns a 45-42 lead in the all-time series, with the Rams sweeping the season series last year.
VCU built an 18-point, first-half lead against Belmont in its latest game and never looked back. The club shot 46.7 percent from the field, and although it allowed the Bruins to make 54 percent of their field goal attempts, it was able to make a difference in the takeaway battle, turning 24 turnovers into 27 points. Treveon Graham paced the Rams with 19 points on 7-of-11 from the field while adding eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Juvonte Reddic tallied 17 points and nine boards, Rob Brandenburg scored 14 points, and Melvin Johnson had 11 points off the bench. On the season, VCU has been above average at the offensive end, shooting 44.5 percent from the floor for 73.6 ppg. Reddic has started the season impressively, leading the team in both scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.6) while shooting a lofty 60.5 percent from the field. Graham is also a potent scorer with 14.0 ppg, and Brandenburg chips in 10.5 ppg. Darius Theus (8.4 ppg) leads the team with 4.6 apg, but he missed the Belmont game due to injury.
Not much has gone right for the Monarchs this season, as they shoot less than 40 percent from the field for 62.5 ppg, while allowing their opponents to connect on 46.4 percent of its shot attempts. They put together one of their worst performances of the year against Richmond, making just 19-of-60 field goal attempts (.317) in the 27-point loss. Nick Wright was the lone ODU player to score in double figures in the setback with 16 points. DeShawn Painter was just 3-of-12 from the field for eight points, but he did manage to rip down 10 rebounds. Amazing enough, the team's leading scores is Dimitri Batten, who puts up just 9.5 ppg. Donte Hill (9.3 ppg) and Keenan Palmore (9.0 ppg) are also on the verge of averaging double digits. One thing ODU can do right is rebound, as it collects 7.4 rpg more than its opponents on average.
The Monarchs have the home crowd on their side, but that hasn't made much of a difference this year as they are just 1-4 at the Constant Convocation Center. VCU possesses much more scoring talent than does ODU, and it should be able to shoot its way to victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Commonwealth 77, Old Dominion 65
12/07 10:35:41 ET
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