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The Fans: Two Students Blog on the CCA Tournament

It's hard to find two stronger supporters of the Old Dominion University Monarchs men's basketball team than Cameron King and Lauren Scolamiero.

You can find the ODU students in the front row of the student section at every home game. They've also traveled to see the team in Richmond, Harrisonburg and Williamsburg.

And at this weekend's Colonial Athletic Association Championship in Richmond, you'll find Cameron and Lauren on our website.

They'll write "The Fans" - a blog about their experience cheering for the Monarchs as they try to win a spot in the NCAAs.

"We're the biggest fans of ODU basketball, ever," Lauren said.

The duo was there last year, for the Monarchs' shocking quarter-final loss to William and Mary. It's not going to happen this year.

ODU is the No. 4 seed going into the tournament. Their first game will be Saturday against the winner of Hofstra and UNC-Wilmington

But our blogging team will take the court on Friday. Lauren and Cameron will do a "pre-game" blog, with their predictions for the team, and for the most spirited fans in the CAA. Regular blog entries will follow before and after every ODU game for the rest of the weekend, hopefully right up to the final on Monday night.

Follow "The Fans" all weekend on the ODU website, www.odu.edu. If you want to follow the team live, Saturday's and Sunday's games can be seen on WSKY4 (Channel 4). ODU's game tips off at 2:30 p.m. Monday's CAA Tournament final will be shown nationwide on ESPN2.

Go Monarchs!

FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 9 A.M.

Welcome to the beginning of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament 2009!

Cameron and Lauren here. All weekend, hopefully until Monday night, we'll be blogging about the sights and sounds from Richmond.

After a furious finish in which Old Dominion won nine of its last 10 games, the Monarchs have achieved a 4th seed in the tournament. The top four seeds get a first round bye, and after the beginning of our conference campaign this seemed like a virtual impossibility.

After losing a very tough one, 58-42 to Northeastern at home, ODU has come back with a vengeance, led by junior forward Gerald Lee. Lee is averaging 15.7 points and 5.6 rebounds this season, and has been a monster over the 10-game final stretch.

In a press conference Monday, coach Blaine Taylor said, "I'd be pulling the wool over everyone's eyes if I said we weren't playing our best basketball."

The team has certainly picked an appropriate time to peak, and will need every bit of energy this weekend. Our likely opponent will be Hofstra -- the 5th seed in the tournament -- who will have to get by a struggling UNC Wilmington squad Friday night.

The Monarchs will be looking to avenge a nine-point loss to Hofstra earlier in the season, at Hofstra, the only meeting of the two teams this year. The Pride matches up well with Old Dominion in terms of size, athleticism, and style of play. This has the makings of a great college basketball game and the fans are getting geared up.

Even though the conference tournament marks the beginning of our spring break, this is not stopping students from showing their support for their team before traveling elsewhere.

Friends have already booked hotels for the weekend and are hoping to stay until Monday for the championship game to cheer on the Monarchs.

When Lauren asked Kirk Nawrotzky if he was carpooling with friends to save gas money he replied, "No, we are all driving up separately. We are all going home afterward."

Alumni tend to underestimate the "fandom" of us students, but the truth is, we are diehard fans. We don't have the luxury of having assigned seats at the Ted, so we stand out in the cold (sometimes for five hours) to be guaranteed a front-row seat.

Thankfully, we've been given the resources through Monarch Maniacs to be able to follow our team on the road. A bunch of us even went to the first-round NCAA Tournament game in Buffalo two years ago, when ODU received an at-large bid.

We "true" fans have taken full advantage of the opportunities that have been given to us to watch our team outplay other mid-major schools. We'll even be in Richmond Friday for the first round of the tournament, to get a feel for our opponent on Saturday.

Again, our game is Saturday at 2:30 p.m., against the winner of the Hofstra/UNCW game. It's going to be very exciting, so be there, and check back here through the weekend for a recap of how the Monarchs do.

This article was posted on: March 6, 2009

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