Believe it or not, Wake Forest, when the Deacons had Tim Duncan and Randolph Childress and a coach named Dave Odom, played in the Winthrop Coliseum.
That was 1995, when the Deacons beat the Eagles 78-54 and a few weeks later won their first of two straight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles.
Winthrop hosts Old Dominion tonight at 7 in the Winthrop Coliseum, and the Monarchs might be the best opponent the Eagles have faced at home since the Deacs.
"We've never brought this good a team into the coliseum," Winthrop coach Randy Peele said.
When reminded of that Wake team, Peele said, "OK, second best."
Scheduling home games hasn't been easy for Winthrop since they started putting 20-win seasons on the books. And for Peele, who grew up watching Old Dominion games at The Scope in Norfolk, Va., this one has a little extra meaning.
"In order to get where we want to go, we've got to play teams that have been to the place we want to get," he said, talking about the Monarchs' NCAA Division II national title and its long tradition of playing good basketball. "They have a great tradition for a long time."
Peele said ODU coming to town is only a notch or so below bringing in an ACC team.
And don't let the Monarchs' 6-5 record fool you. If there's a team in the country that's played a tougher non-league schedule than Winthrop, it's Blaine Taylor's team. ODU has faced top-ranked North Carolina, then-No. 6 Louisville, No. 5 Georgetown and No. 15 Clemson.
Granted, the Monarchs lost all those games by double digits, but learned a lot about themselves, just as Winthrop has learned some hard lessons by playing Georgia Tech, Baylor, West Virginia, Ole Miss and, most recently, Mount St. Mary's.
"They're just like us," Peele said, "except they're bigger and more experienced."
The Monarchs play 10 players at least 10 minutes per game, have excellent guards in Brandon Johnson and Brian Henderson, have size in 7-3 Sam Harris and 6-10 Gerald Lee and have athleticism with Jonathan Adams and Ben Finney.
While the Eagles (5-5) are coming off that disappointing loss at Mount St. Mary's, ODU has to bounce back from a 55-49 loss at Richmond on Wednesday night.
To beat the Monarchs, the Eagles are going to have to defend a team that can shoot the 3-pointer -- in fact, loves to shoot the 3-pointer. The Monarchs have shot 204 on the year, almost a third of their 623 overall attempts. Henderson has taken 54 3s in his 88 shots, while Abdi Lidonde off the bench has taken 69 shots, 53 of them 3s.
But ODU can also take it inside to a big, athletic front line.
Defense is Peele's main concern, because the Eagles have been putting some defensive numbers that are very un-Winthrop-like.
Since beginning their domination of the Big South Conference and making a move on the national scene the past nine seasons, the Eagles have won with defense. They've lost five of their past seven games, and here are the numbers that explain why:
In the first half of their 10 games, opponents have shot a combined 37 percent overall and 29 percent on 3-pointers. Only Georgia Tech has shot better than 50 percent in the first half.
In the second half, opponents have shot 45 percent overall and 41 percent on 3-pointers. Baylor, Missouri State, West Virginia, Ole Miss and Mount St. Mary's all shot better than 50 percent. It's not a coincidence those are the five games the Eagles lost.
In the second half of the five losses, opponents shot a combined 54 percent overall and 50 percent on 3-pointers. And that's a key stat, because four of the five losses came by eight, five, five and four points.
In the last two games, Ole Miss and Mount St. Mary's carved up the Eagles to the tune of 59 percent overall and 61 percent on 3-pointers in the second half. The Eagles lost both by five points.
"Our problem right now is we don't stop anybody," said Peele, who liked the way his team responded in practice after the Mount St. Mary's loss that dropped the Eagles to .500 for the first time since the 14th game of the 2003-04 season, when they finished 16-12.
"They reacted very well," he said, "but they know they didn't perform well at Mount St. Mary's. We had points in that game where we played very well, but we didn't defend well enough to win the game."
With a loss tonight, the Eagles could be under .500 for the first time since being 8-9 midway through the 2001-02 season.
But Peele isn't placing any must-win tag on this game. He's more concerned about his team getting better.
"In the grand scheme of things, it's no more important than the others," he said.
He does hope it's important to Winthrop fans. The Eagles have averaged 2,900 fans for three home dates. He'd love to see a sellout tonight, and thinks Old Dominion is the kind of game that should draw. He's hoping for a good turnout, because he wants to keep the series going.
"Fans have been wanting us to play good teams at home," he said. "Our community has taken great interest in our program. We'd love to see a great crowd."