Keys to the game: ODU vs. William and Mary
January 25, 2008
**When the Tribe has the ball**
p. __Consistent Execution__
Head Coach Tony Shaver has been preaching this all season, especially during this six-game streak. During this span, the Tribe has shown flashes of solid offensive execution, while at other times the College has gone cold for long scoring droughts. If the Tribe can operate within its offense by creating open shots with persistent ball movement and hitting cutters, the College will find itself with good looks at the basket and a chance to win. Moreover, the Tribe must dictate the pace. Allowing ODU’s backcourt an opportunity to run will only hinder the College’s chances.
p. __Work Inside-Out__
Some of the College’s most successful offensive stretches have come when the Tribe dumps the ball into the high post and either looks for an open lane to the basket or kicks the ball out for a three-point attempt. If the College can force ODU’s defense to collapse when the ball enters the paint, the Tribe will have open jump shots. In order for the Monarch defense to close in, the College will have to prove it can score in the post and finish on opportunities around the basket.
__Value the Ball__
In its most recent CAA victory at Drexel, the Tribe committed 26 turnovers. A repeat performance against the Monarchs would be devastating. ODU comes into the game third in the CAA in steals per game at 8.1 and Monarch senior Brandon Johnson leads the league in steals per game at 2.8. In the first five games of the winning streak, limiting turnovers proved vital for the Tribe as they averaged only 13 per game.
p. **When ODU has the ball**
p. __Talk, Talk, Talk__
The Tribe’s match-up zone entails lots of switching on the defensive end, which means communication is critical. The College’s defense has keyed its winning streak and keeps the Tribe in games when its scoring slows. Therefore, when switching on screens or “showing,” talking becomes vital. Miscommunication will only lead to defensive breakdowns and easy scoring chances for the Monarchs.
p. __Battle of the Boards__
In the season’s first meeting between these teams, the Monarchs grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, which led to 18 second-chance points. Only James Madison University has snared more offensive rebounds than ODU during the Tribe’s past six games. Holding its own on the boards will allow the Tribe to limit the Monarchs’ second-chance opportunities and possibly propel the College to a win.
p. __Control Gerald Lee__
The 6’10” sophomore forward leads the Monarchs in points and rebounds, and provides ODU with its most consistent interior production. If the College can limit Lee’s touches and keep him off the glass, the Tribe will force ODU’s offense out of the paint and to the perimeter, where the Monarchs shoot 33.9 percent from three-point range and where the College holds its opponents to 30.6 percent shooting.