#51 Old Dominion Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Old Dominion Monarchs

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #51
Conference Rank: #1 Conference USA

Old Dominion Team Page#51 Old Dominion Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Old Dominion Basketball Tickets

Old Dominion was the best team in Conference USA last year. However, UAB stole the show late in the year and took away the NCAA Tournament bid and relegated the Monarchs to the NIT. Old Dominion did make a nice run in the NIT, beating Charleston Southern, Illinois State and Murray State on their way to Madison Square Garden. The Monarchs fell to Stanford in the semifinals, but it was still a nice run and a very, very good season. Once again, Coach Jeff Jones has a very talented team to work with and this time they will be shooting for the NCAAs instead of the NIT.

2014-15 Record: 27-8, 13-5
2014-15 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Jeff Jones
Coach Record: 45-26 at Old Dominion, 402-313 overall

Who’s Out:
There are a couple significant losses from that team though, most notably starters Jonathan Arledge and Richard Ross. Arledge was third on the team in both scoring and rebounding with 8.7 and 4.9, respectively. Ross was right behind Arledge in the scoring department and added 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Those two ate up a lot of minutes in the paint. The loss of forward Javonte Douglas does not help the depth up front either and the unit also lost little used Joe Ebondo. Keenan Palmore is the most notable departure on the perimeter, which also includes Deion Clark.

Who’s In:
The newcomers will be asked to fill quite a few of the minutes in the frontcourt. Freshman Aaron Carver will not be asked to do much this year, if anything, and redshirt freshman Zoran Talley is an athletic 6-7 forward who could find some minutes this year. However, the bigger prospects are transfers Payton Pervier and Brandan Stith. Pervier comes from the junior college ranks and his 7-1, 275 pound will be difficult for opponents to deal with. Stith spent his freshman campaign at East Carolina where the 6-7 forward averaged 4.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. He is a proven defender and his time sitting on the sidelines at ODU last year should make him a perfect fit to slide right into a starting role and emerge as a leader in the frontcourt. The lone guard coming in is Ahmed Carver, a 6-2 point guard who will have plenty of time to learn behind the very talented Old Dominion backcourt.

Who to Watch:
And this is an extremely talented and deep backcourt. It starts with senior Trey Freeman, who averaged 16.9 points, 3.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals last season. He is the guy who will take all of the big shots for the Monarchs. He is only 6-2, but Freeman can attack the basket effectively and at least get fouled. Aaron Bacote is not as prolific of a shooter as Freeman, but he too will get to the basket and the charity stripe. Bacote ranked second on the team in scoring last season with 9.8. Jordan Baker averaged just 3.9 points per game, but Coach Jones wants him on the floor as much as possible because of his defense. He is not a bad shooter and this could be the year Baker starts looking for his shot a little more often. Ambrose Mosley was the team’s most prolific three-point shooter last season, knocking down 63. After averaging 7.1 points per game as a sophomore, expect even better things from Mosley in 2015-2016.

Final Projection:
The backcourt can carry this team towards the top of the CUSA standings, but the frontcourt will be needed to get over the hump and into the NCAA Tournament. Surely the newcomers will play a big part in that, but Denzell Taylor and Nik Biberaj can do a lot too. Taylor is a monster on the glass, especially on the offensive glass, and tallied a team high 6.0 rebounds per game last season. He may not score much, but now there will be more shots to go around in the frontcourt. Biberaj is not really a scorer either, although he can stretch out the defense a bit with his outside shooting. Biberaj averaged just 8.5 minutes per game last season, yet when Coach Jones needs somebody to come in and do the dirty work in the paint, Biberaj will be ready. Nonetheless, Old Dominion will want to find a consistent scorer in the frontcourt and Stith appears to be the best candidate for the job. If he cannot do it, Old Dominion could find themselves having another great season, but one that ends in the NIT.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Jordan Baker, Junior, Guard, 3.9 points per game
Trey Freeman, Senior, Guard, 16.9 points per game
Aaron Bacote, Senior, Guard, 9.8 points per game
Brandan Stith, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season
Denzell Taylor, Junior, Forward, 2.9 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 64.9 (233rd in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.1 (8, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.2 (190, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.0 (48, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (223, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.5 (248, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.6 (263, 7)
Rebound Margin: 5.2 (30, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.5 (101, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.8 (34, 1)


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