Old Dominion (2-14) at UNC-Wilimington (6-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Trask Coliseum (5,500) -- Wilmington, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: ODU 1-9. UNCW 6-1. Away Record: ODU 0-5, UNCW 0-6. Neutral Record: ODU 1-0, UNCW 0-0. Conference Record: ODU 0-4, UNCW 1-3. Series Record: Old Dominion leads, 29-17.
GAMES NOTES: Two teams at the bottom of the Colonial Athletic Association will try to begin the slow climb back to contention when the Old Dominion Monarchs visit the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks at Trask Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Usually a perennial contender in the CAA, Old Dominion is in the midst of a very poor season as the Monarchs lost for the fourth straight game with a 71-46 defeat to George Mason last time out. The Monarchs are now just 2-14 this season with losses in all four of their conference marks. To put that in perspective Old Dominion has only had 14 or more losses in two of the previous nine seasons. An 0-5 team on the road, Old Dominion will return home to host Georgia State on Saturday.
UNC-Wilmington bounced back from a four-game losing streak of its own on Saturday against George Mason with an 82-74 victory. The win was the first in four conference battles and pushed the Seahawks to 6-10 on the campaign. All six of those wins have come at home. The Seahawks will be on the road in their next contest though as they visit Georgia State after a week off.
Old Dominion has won five straight matchups against UNC-Wilmington. The Monarchs now lead the all-time series, 29-17.
In its loss to George Mason, Old Dominion shot just 25 percent for the game while totaling only 12 field goals. That included just four in the second half. The only thing that kept the Monarchs slightly competitive was their edge from the free-throw line (21-8). The Monarchs also hurt themselves by turning the ball over 24 times.
Although the 46 points that Old Dominion scored against George Mason was one of its worst efforts of the season, it's not as if the Monarchs have been lighting it up this year. Old Dominion is the second-lowest scoring team in the CAA (62.3 ppg), while also ranking second to last in field-goal percentage (.394). On the defensive end the Monarchs are allowing teams to shoot at a 46.6 percent clip while netting just over 70 points per game. DeShawn Painter (11.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg) is the leading scorer on the squad as well as the top rebounder. In the backcourt, Donte Hill (9.0 ppg) is the top option although his shooting could improve (.373 FG percentage).
A 12-4 run from the Seahawks against the Patriots helped push UNC-Wilmington ahead of George Mason for good in their clash on Saturday. It was UNC- Wilmington's play on the boards that was especially crucial with the Seahawks holding a 51-27 edge on the boards. That allowed the Seahawks to outscore the Patriots 26-2 in second-chance points.
If Old Dominion is looking for a team more offensively challenged than itself in the CAA the Monarchs need look no further than the Seahawks. UNC-Wilmington is scoring a conference-low 61.6 points per game, while shooting just 40.6 percent overall. Double-double machine Keith Rendleman (15.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg) has been one of few bright spots this season. The 6-foot-8 forward has recorded seven double-doubles this season, while ranking in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding in the conference. There are few offensive options beyond Rendleman though, with Craig Ponder (8.8 ppg) the second-leading scorer and the only other player putting in more than eight points per game.
The battle between Painter and Rendleman is the matchup to watch in this contest. Whichever big man can get the upper hand will carry their team to victory. It's likely Rendleman that will be able to do so on his home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UNC-Wilmington 67, Old Dominion 62
01/16 10:33:37 ET