Old Dominion gets ready for Conference USA Tournament quest

NORFOLK (WAVY) — Last year Old Dominion was oh so close to winning the Conference USA tournament. A last second loss to Middle Tennessee in the championship ended ODU’s quest for an NCAA Tournament bid.

“Last year was last year, we’ve put that in the past,” Senior Denzell Taylor said. “Hopefully we can take some stuff from last year and implement into this year.”

ODU comes in as the three seed and with it a first-round bye. The Monarchs play their first game tomorrow night in the late game which tips off at 9 p.m.eastern time.

“It will make for a long day certainly from my perspective it will be like torture,” said coach Jeff Jones. “We’ll try to adjust as best we can keep the guys mentally occupied.”

ODU needs to win 3 games in Birmingham to make the NCAA tournament, something the Monarchs have not done in six years.

“We’re a very confident team,” said junior Brandan Stith. “You can’t look at NCAA Tournament first without handling your conference.”

“This is what you play college basketball for,” said Denzell Taylor. “These moments and these opportunities.”

With that trip to the tournament on the line, the grind of a 30 game season comes down to this.

“You got to go try and win a basketball game,” Jones said. “It’s fun, as a competitor you’ve got to thrive in these types of situations and don’t worry about what if this or what if that, you go out there lay it all on the line.”

And it starts tomorrow down in Birmingham.