Virginia (9-2) vs. Old Dominion (1-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 5:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Richmond Coliseum (11,140) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: UVA 8-1, ODU 1-6. Away Record: UVA 1-1, ODU 0-4. Neutral Record: UVA 0-0, ODU 0-0. Conference Record: UVA 0-0, ODU 0-1. Series Record: Virginia leads, 9-4.
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Cavaliers hope to continue their winning ways this evening when they clash with the Old Dominion Monarchs in the Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic at Richmond Coliseum.
Virginia enters the matchup with an eight-game winning streak in tow, although both of the team's losses came against foes from the Colonial Athletic Association, the conference in which the Monarchs play. Most recently, the Cavaliers cruised to a 75-57 win over Morgan State on Wednesday. They'll get a seven-day break following tonight's action.
Old Dominion enters the tilt at the opposite end of the spectrum, having dropped each of its last nine contests. The Monarchs went on the road this past Tuesday and fell to the College of Charleston, 76-65. Following this tilt, they'll be idle until hosting Fairfield next Saturday.
UVA has won the last three meetings with ODU and holds a 9-4 edge in the all- time series.
The Cavaliers used a 12-2 run early in the second half to pull away from Morgan State. They finished the contest with a 39-21 rebounding advantage, including a key 16-5 edge on the offensive glass that led to a season-high 23 second-chance points. Sophomore Darion Atkins scored a career-high 17 points, while Akil Mitchell tallied 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. The Cavs prefer to keep the pace of the game down, forcing the opposition into a defensive struggle. They have held five opponents below 50 points this season and entered the weekend ranked third nationally in scoring defense (50.6 ppg) and seventh in opponent field-goal percentage (.351). In nine of its last 10 outings, UVA has held foes under 43-percent shooting from the field. On the offensive end, Joe Harris paces the squad with 14.7 points per game, while Mitchell is averaging 13.5 points and 9.5 boards per tilt.
The Monarchs have really struggled to find the bottom of the twine, and this matchup will present an even greater challenge against UVA's stingy defense. ODU enters the contest shooting just 40.9 percent from the floor as a team, and only 27.2 percent from beyond the arc. The lack of a true go-to scorer has plagued ODU throughout the season, as DeShawn Painter is averaging a team-best 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds. Donte Hill is the only other double-digit scorer, averaging 10.2 ppg. Four Monarchs scored in double figures against Charleston, but they were simply had no answer for the Cougars' Adjehi Baru and his game-high 20 points behind a perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the floor. As a team, CofC shot 53.1 percent. After the first half ended in a 28-28 tie, the Cougars pulled away by shooting a blistering 61.5 percent in the second stanza.
Leaky defense and an anemic offense are generally not two ingredients for success, and so it's little wonder why the Monarchs find themselves with only one win in 11 tries this season. While the proximity of these two schools may ignite some fire in the Monarchs, they are running into a buzz saw in the red- hot Cavaliers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia 79, Old Dominion 64
12/22 10:40:31 ET