The Old Dominion Monarchs have received a No. 9 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament bracket was just revealed on the Selection Sunday show on CBS, and the Monarchs will be in the Southeast region. The CAA Tournament champions will play Butler in the first round in Washington, DC.
Coach Blaine Taylor's squad finished with a 26-6 record, notching out of conference wins against Clemson, Xavier, and Richmond before going 14-4 in CAA play and topping Virginia Commonwealth, 70-65, in the CAA Tournament final. The Monarchs topped the final Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, receiving 25 of 31 first-place votes.
Senior power forward Frank Hassell was named All-CAA and received MVP honors in the CAA Tournament, scoring 22.7 points per game in ODU's three wins. Hassell earned Honorable Mention All-American nods from several national publications.The 6'9", 255-pounder from Chesapeake, VA averaged a team-leading 15.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game during the season.
This is ODU's second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Keyon Carter hit a pair of free throws with 9.6 seconds left to help the Monarchs top Notre Dame, 51-50, in last year's first round. ODU's physical defense held Irish star Luke Harangody scoreless until 12 seconds remained on the game clock. The Monarchs fell in the second round to Baylor.
Expect this year's squad to make more than a few lists of Sweet Sixteen sleepers. And Blaine Taylor's mustache is 2-1 to win Most Outstanding Player. Remember where you heard it first.