Pop quiz hotshot: How many seniors have played over 10 minutes a game for Arizona this year?
Hint: All of them are listed above.
The bad news: Aaron Gordon is really good. He hasn't even shown it yet, and he's been awful from the foul line, but there's a reason he's getting top 4 freshman looks in a loaded freshman class. 6'9", can move, shoots out to the perimeter (which I'd be more than happy to invite him to do) and cleans the glass. Nick Johnson not only leads the team in experience, but when it comes to shooting from deep, Chris Fouch is a poor mans Nick Johnson, not the other way around. Tarczewski stands at 7' and has legit skills around the basket.
The good news: If I have to win a game, I'm taking Massenat over McConnell at the point guard spot despite Frantz's slow start. I don't mind having the freshman that will be filling in for Abif guarding Ashley. He's not an outstanding free throw shooter and Arizona treats their post players like Drexel does, so he won't see the ball that much unless Arizona really looks towards exploiting that matchup. Kaleb Tarczewski should be neutralized fairly well by Ruffin and foul trouble pending, that matchup could be a wash. If Damion puts the ball on the floor and drives like he should, maybe he can draw some fouls on the young Mr. Gordon.
Things to look for:
-- Rebounding: Arizona has been elite on the boards this year, and with Abif out the freshman will have to hit the boards hard with help from whoever is at the three, Lee or Allen. Having an even rebounding margin is a win here, and anything short of that is a game killer.
--Damion Lee: I expect him to get the call against Gordon, he'll be giving up some height, but can hang with Gordon athletically. Who will be the first to draw fouls on who, does he box him out all night long, and can Lee keep his emotions in check. If Lee can check off those boxes he'll be well on his way to really helping out the Dragons
--Foul shooting: After the new rules posts, the importance of this has been addressed repeatedly. Want to give yourself an advantage in a game when you're a dog? Outshoot em from the line in a game with a ton of free throws.
--Help defense: Can the freshman slide over and pickup the driving guards, or will they be a step slow and pickup the foul. When they commit the fouls this game, they need to be good hard fouls, they can't foul and allow the basket. Go hard or go home with the help. If they're slow to get there and allow the hoop and the harm, you could see the worst case scenerio.
I like Drexel's depth and foul shooting in this game. They need to keep the game physical while keeping Ruffin on the floor. If they can do that, and both teams shoot reasonably, we could have a ballgame. If the refs play let em' play, this might not be so good for DU fans.
Prediction: Arizona 76-67
Vegas Line: Arizona -12
Postgame will be up tomorrow.
Thanks for reading, and have safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving!