Old Dominion grabbed their dancing shoes and survived a furious VCU second half rally to win the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Championship 70-65 on Monday night in Richmond.
The Monarchs size and strength on the inside proved to be too much in the first half as ODU sprinted out to an 18 point lead. As the Rams began to claw back using their smaller quicker guards and wing players led by Bradford Burgess, VCU cut the lead to one with under 5 minutes to play when ODU had nine straight trips on the offensive end without a bucket.
The Rams would get no closer and Frank Hassell was way too much for VCU to handle in the post scoring 22 points, on 8-9 shooting from the field, and grabbing 9 rebounds.
Old Dominion snatches the CAA’s automatic bid for the second consecutive year and the loss likely forces VCU to the NIT. Top seeded George Mason will also have very little to sweat about on Selection Sunday as they should have no problem grabbing an at large bid.
Many mid to lower tier CAA fans including those at Georgia State were likely rooting for the black and gold of VCU, however, because a victory would have meant three CAA teams in the Dance and a larger share of the NCAA payout for the conference. Mid-major teams can receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $230,000 per unit, or game played. With three teams in and the conference splitting the revenue, it could mean as much as $60,000 in conference share per team.