NORFOLK (WAVY) – It’s easy for any team left out of the field of 68 to think “what if.” That’s about as far from the thinking of Old Dominion after the monarchs were named a no. 1 seed for the National Invitational Tournament. “This is terrific for us,” said head coach Jeff Jones, who’s team finished 24-7 in just his second year and will play Charleston Southern at the Ted Constant Center on Wednesday.
ODU started off 13-1 and ranked no. 25 in the nation (their first national ranking in school history). The team somewhat dipped from the national discussion going 5-5 from that point, but put themselves right back on the proverbial bubble winning their last six games.
Jones says his team knew it had all but sealed its NCAA Tournament fate with a loss to Middle Tennessee in the Conference USA Tournament, but is thrilled at the opportunity that lay ahead. “I think we’ll be excited and we should be because we’re not in a position to look down our noses or anything,” said Jones.
“He doesn’t want us to look down at it, or act like we’re too good to be here. I don’t think we have any of that kind of stuff going on,” said senior forward Richard Ross.
Ross is enjoying his last postseason as a Monarch, but Trey Freeman still has another season left and is looking forward to learning from what the NIT has to offer. “There’s a lot of good talent in this tournament and I’m looking forward to the challenge of coming out and performing every night,” said Freeman, “I think our team is just overall happy for the opportunity to extend our season.”