NORFOLK (WAVY) – It was only fitting that the Old Dominion basketball team, along with a few hundred smiling Monarch fans, gathered inside the practice facility where they’d spent so many hours trying to make this season’s dream Sunday’s reality.
Phones and other recording devices at the ready, the Monarchs saw their school’s name appear on the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, and could let out a celebration they’d waited so long for.
“It’s unreal, man. It’s still hasnt’ hit me yet. It feels like a dream come true,” said guard Ahmad Caver.
“We’ve been talking about this all year,” said Cave’rs senior teammate B.J. Stith, who was named Conference USA’s Player of the Year.
ODU was given a 14 seed in the South Region, and will face three seed Purdue Thursday night in Hartford, Connecticut. The last ODU team to make the Big Dance was in 2011, when the Monarchs won the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
“Obviously, we’d worked really hard, and dreamed and thought abou it,” said head coach Jeff Jones, who took over the program in 2013. “There had beeen some close calls in previous years. We kept getting close, but finally we kicked in that door.”