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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Monarchs Achieve First-Ever Top 25 Ranking in Men's Basketball

Just two years after a disastrous 5-25 season, the Old Dominion University Monarchs men's basketball team has managed a feat never achieved previously by the program.

The Monarchs (12-1), winners of nine straight, appeared in the Associated Press top 25 for the first time in school history on January 5, at No. 25. The Monarchs garnered 80 votes this week from a nationwide panel of media voters. The ranking was achieved after a week where ODU defeated Mount St. Mary's University 69-35 and the University of Charlotte 61-54, in the team's first game of the Conference USA season.

This season, ODU has defeated then-No. 14 Virginia Commonwealth, along with LSU, in achieving the school's best start since moving to Division 1 in 1976-77. The achievement is all the more notable since the program was forced to rebuild after its worst season ever in 2012-13. Coach Jeff Jones, in only his second year on the Monarchs' bench, has the team chasing its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011.

"I am excited for our program, the University and Monarch alumni and fans everywhere," said Jones. "It's a big step for the program and a credit to the hard work of our student-athletes and our coaching staff."

Though Old Dominion dropped out of the rankings after splitting two games the week of Jan. 5-11, winning at Marshall and losing at Western Kentucky, Jones stressed to a large crowd at the Monarch Breakfast on Wednesday, Jan. 14 that the team's focus is on finishing the season strongly. He said that starts with home games this Thursday and Saturday, against Rice and North Texas, respectively.