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Old Dominion Looks To Bust Top Of Bracket In 2011 NCAA Tournament

The Verizon Center is hosting four first round games of the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Thursday that will feature some of the best teams in the Nation. You can find the schedule for Thursday's games here. We're going to preview each of the eight teams that will be playing on Thursday.

Old Dominion Monarchs:

Coach: Blaine Taylor

Conference: CAA (Tournament Champions)

Record: 27-6 (14-4)

Best Player And Why: Frank Hassell leads the Monarchs in both points and rebounds, and is a remarkably consistent force under the basket. He has been carrying ODU on his (allegedly huge) back all season long. if they are going to go far in the tournament, he'll need to be the dominating force he is capable of being.

Strength: Experience. Old Dominion made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year, and they return four starters from that team. Unlike a lot of teams that come from small conferences, they aren't going to feel out of place when they get deep into the tournament (foreshadowing).

Weakness: Like most of the small conference teams, they don't have a tremendous amount of size. Hassell has good size at the power forward position, but the rest of their starters will probably smaller than the players they are guarding.

Starting Lineup: Darius James - Ben Finney - Kent Bazemore - Chris Cooper - Frank Hassell

Prediction: A lot of people are going to pick Butler because they have better name recognition, but I like Old Dominion in this game. I don't think Butler is as good as they were last year, and I think Old Dominion is going to be the much hungrier team.

If you haven't filled out your bracket yet, it's not too late! We have a printable bracket that's been updated to reflect the results of the first-four wins.