‘Nothing but hate’ is what fuels ODU, VCU men’s hoops rivalry

ODU men’s basketball vs. VCU men’s basketball, 2017

NORFOLK, Va. – It doesn’t mean anything in regard to a conference championship, but it means plenty when it comes to regional bragging rights.

Wednesday, for the 94th time, the Old Dominion men’s basketball team (3-and-3) will take on former conference foe VCU (5-and-1). The two programs have played every year dating back to the 1977-78 season.

“Ever since I came here, there’s nothing but hate,” Old Dominion senior guard B.J. Stith told News 3. “I can’t stand VCU. I’m sure they can’t stand us – but that’s what makes it fun.”

Guard Mark Poag of the Old Dominion Monarchs vs. Virginia Commonwealth. (Photo courtesy: Doug Pensin)

VCU and ODU were Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) rivals from 1995 to 2012. The Rams left the CAA following the 2011-12 season – one year after the program reached the NCAA Final Four. VCU, having won three in a row and seven of their last eight vs. ODU, lead the all-time series 50-43.

“I hate it,” admitted Monarchs senior guard Ahmad Caver, the team’s leading scorer (19.2 points per game). “I think about that all the time. I’ve been telling all the new guys how bad I’m trying to win this game.”

“I haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here,” added Stith. “It’s a big game for me personally and a big game for us as a team. We have to get a win – there’s no way around it.”

Each of the last four meetings between the Rams and ODU have been decided by nine points or less.

Forward Simon Moore of Virginia Commonwealth vs. ODU. (Photo courtesy: Doug Pensinger /Allsport)

“It is a big game for a lot of reasons,” explained ODU head men’s basketball coach Jeff Jones. “It goes back so far. Both programs have been so good for so long. It’s not a fond relationship, but from our standpoint: it is a rivalry where there’s a lot of respect for the other program.”

ODU is coming off a 72-65 victory over Northern Iowa last Friday night at the Ted. Stith led the Monarchs with 25 points (8-13 FG), to go along with four rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal. Caver followed with 19 points (4-4 FT), six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Dajour Dickens finished with a career-high nine points, to compliment four rebounds, three blocks and one assist.

ODU men’s basketball vs. VCU men’s basketball, 2017

VCU enters Wednesday’s contest with a 5-and-1 record with wins over Gardner-Webb (69-57), Hampton (69-57), Bowling Green (72-61), Temple (57-51) and Hofstra (69-67). The Rams loss came to St. John’s in Brooklyn, N.Y. by an 87-86 score.

Issac Vann has led the way for VCU so far, averaging 14.8 points per game. Also averaging double-figures for the Rams are Chesapeake product (Cape Henry Collegiate) Marcus Evans (13.3 ppg) and De’Riante Jenkins (10.8 ppg).

ODU hosts VCU at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The game will air on MASN, as well as ESPN3. Locate your cable provider on the following link to find MASN on your cable or satellite system by CLICKING HERE.