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2019 NCAA tournament preview: Old Dominion

Old Dominion Monarchs: 26-8, 13-5 in Conference USA

Head coach: Jeff Jones (6th season)

Players to watch: B.J. Stith (16.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG); Ahmad Caver (16.5 PPG, 5.6 APG, 1.4 SPG); Xavier Green (9.7 PPG, 41.7 3PT%)

Season recap: Old Dominion clinched the Conference USA title and a ticket into the NCAA tournament off three single-digit victories over Louisiana Tech, UAB, and Western Kentucky. All season long, the Monarchs had been able to close out games, winning 15 of their 26 victories within single digits. Old Dominion easily finished first in conference play and even handed a ranked opponent, then-No. 25 Syracuse, a loss on the Orange's home floor. 

The Monarchs offense is almost entirely carried by three guards: Stith, Caver, and Green. They combine for roughly two-thirds of Old Dominion’s points, and also seem to be the only three players who are consistently on the court—no other player on the roster has played more than 800 minutes on the season. 

With just three players sparking the Monarch offense, Old Dominion sits third-to-last in points per game as a team in the C-USA. But what the team lack on offense they make up on defense; the Monarchs allow a league-low 61.1 points per game from its opponents. Old Dominion will be making its 12th appearance in the NCAA tournament, its first since 2011, when it suffered a two-point loss to Butler in the Round of 32.

How they make a run: Old Dominion locks down its opponents on defense, keeping the game low-scoring and slow-paced and allowing its guards to thrive in the half-court.

How they falter: The Stith-Caver-Green combo is unable to provide any production on offense, thereby suffocating the Monarchs chances at an upset.


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