The last time Syracuse played Old Dominion, the Orange won 71-58 behind a monster game from senior Don Schayes.
Schayes, who went 13th overall in the NBA draft before playing 18 years in the league, tallied 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in SU’s win over the Monarchs.
38 years later, Syracuse faces Old Dominion again, and just like how it was back in 1981, this Saturday’s matchup is at the Carrier Dome.
In total, the two sides have met three times, with SU holding a 2-1 advantage.
Beyond the last meeting, the Orange and Monarchs played in 1980, which was a home game for ODU. The Monarchs squeezed by No. 3 Syracuse in that one for a 68-67 upset.
However, the loss was SU’s first of the 1979-1980 season, but sure enough, the Orange went on to go 26-4 (5-1 in Big East) before earning a number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Before that contest, Syracuse met Old Dominion for the first time ever back in the 1977 ECAC Tournament. That was prior to the days of the Big East, which didn’t form until 1979, and oh yeah, it was also Jim Boeheim’s first season at the helm.
Led by its rookie head coach, the Orange won the game 67-64 and improved to 22-3 heading into the NCAA Tournament. After that, the 1976-1977 team lost to UNC Charlotte in the Sweet 16 after beating Tennessee in the Round of 32 (32-team tournament back then).
Fast forward now to the present as the Monarchs pay a visit to Central New York. Old Dominion enters at 7-3 with losses to St. Joseph’s, Oregon St., and Northern Iowa. Through ten games, the Monarchs haven’t started poorly, but they’ve definitely been particularly impressive as of late.
ODU are winners of five straight, highlighted by a 10-point victory over VCU in which the Monarchs trailed by 12 at halftime.
Coming into Saturday, Old Dominion hasn’t quite been lights out offensively, but has enjoyed success on defense.
Despite ranking third-last in Conference USA in points per game, the Monarchs are first in points allowed per game, opponent field goal percentage, opponent true shooting percentage, and opponent effective field goal percentage.
Coincidentally, ODU has performed on defense despite not forcing many turnovers – they rank second-to-last in Conference USA in takeaways per game.
On the flip side, the Monarchs aren’t the only ones entering Saturday on a five-game win streak.
After back-to-back losses, Syracuse looks to make it six in a row after a thrilling finish against Georgetown last Saturday. The win has the Orange back in the rankings this week by the skin of its teeth, at No. 25.
For Syracuse, a win over Old Dominion would be a perfect way to keep momentum going into its matchup with No. 14 Buffalo at The Dome next Tuesday.
However, the Monarchs are the current task at hand as the Orange looks to make it 3-1 all time versus ODU. Tipoff from the Carrier Dome on Saturday is at noon.