3 things to watch when Georgia State plays ODU

Ron Hunter will lead Georgia State against Old Dominion on Wednesday. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Ron Hunter will lead Georgia State against Old Dominion on Wednesday. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

The Georgia State men’s basketball team will take on familiar foe Old Dominion on Wednesday at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk. The game can be heard on 1340AM and 88.5FM.

The Panthers and Monarchs used to square off as foes in the Colonial Athletic Association. That series ended when Georgia State (6-2) left for the Sun Belt. Old Dominion (7-1) also left for greener pastures, joining Conference USA.

It promises to be a fascinating game because both teams are among the top mid-majors in the country.

The Panthers are coming off a 24-point drubbing of Wisconsin-Green Bay, which came into the game with one of the top RPIs, and proceeded to destroy ACC foe Miami in its next game.

The Monarchs beat VCU on Nov. 29 – also known as the greatest day in the world b/c a certain blogger was born that day – as well as SEC foe LSU, 70-61.

Here are three things to watch on Wednesday:

Can the Panthers win a non-neutral road game against a good team? The team was hammered by Iowa State in Ames and followed that with a loss at Colorado State. They have beaten Oakland and IUPUI in their gyms, but those were games they were supposed to win. Defeating the Monarchs, who are receiving votes in Top 25 polls, would be a huge confidence boost for the rest of the season with games upcoming against Southern Miss at home and a return trip to Green Bay. The key, as it usually is, will be for R.J. Hunter (23.3 points per game) and Ryan Harrow (19.9 ppg) to continue to score and for someone else to step up as that needed third scorer.

Can Markus Crider and T.J. Shipes keep it up? The frontcourt duo, not really known for their scoring, have injected the lineup with points and rebounds, a nice and rare combination. Shipes is coming off an 11-point, 11-rebound performance against Green Bay and is averaging 5.8 points and 6.1 rebounds this season. Crider is averaging 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds with highs of 17 points and nine rebounds this season. They will have their hands full with ODU’s Richard Ross, a 6-foot-6 forward who is averaging 10.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. They will be needed because 6-foot-10 center Curtis Washington, who started the season at center, continues to try to find his way. He is averaging 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game this season with highs of 11 points and seven rebounds. The Monarchs are built much like the Panthers, without a lot of big men, so the guards and forwards will take on added importance.

Can the zone hold up? Old Dominion has four players who have hit at least nine 3-pointers this season, led by Ambrose Mosley, who has hit 19. As a team, the Monarchs are hitting 38.1 percent. Many Georgia State fans are familiar with the troubles the Panthers sometimes have against teams that can hit 3-pointers. Georgia State must play disciplined defense – and not have 2-3 guys running at one shooter, leaving others open for passes or to rebound – to improve its chances of winning. Opponents are hitting 32.8 percent of their 3-pointers against Georgia State this season

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