Friday, December 13, 2013

Davidson Pregame - Hey, I Heard This Is a Wild One

Basketball is already a hard enough game to predict, but to preview this game with any sense of certainty seems a fools errand.  Drexel gets Freddie Wilson on the court in game action for the first time in this game and comments from the coaching staff seem to infer that he'll see plenty of action.  Customarily, Bruiser hasn't let guys start in their returns from injury or first game off of a transfer so I don't expect Freddie to start,  but the addition will give Bru an opportunity for a quicker hook with any of his guards that he may be dissatisfied with.  Historically, that means Chris Fouch and Chris Fouch alone will have a short leash.

On the other side of the court, De'mon Brooks has been out for the Wildcats with a knee sprain, and may return this game.  He was supposedly questionable for Davidson's contest this Wednesday before appearing in street clothes come warmups.  There's not a lot out there at this point on his current status, but there's a report that two weeks ago the Davidson radio personnel estimated at 1-2 weeks until the Preseason SoCon Player of the Year returned.  Adding this up and it's easy to think that there's a better than 50/50 likelihood that he sees some minutes in this game.  De'mon is a high motor big man with skills who could cause fits for the relatively young Drexel frontcourt.

Regardless of Brooks' status, Drexel will need to watch out for Tyler Kalinoski, a stone cold shooter who picks his spots well.  He's not a high volume scorer but he's efficient and if his defender naps on him for a play, he'll get burned.  The volume shooter is point guard Brian Sullivan who will hopefully have some problems dealing with the size of Frantz Massenat who should be his mark for the afternoon.  Sullivan does his best work from the foul line and so Frantz' primary responsibility should be just staying in front of him.

The defensive numbers for Davidson as a team don't look good, but they're significantly hurt by their opponents shooting over 40% against them from three this year.  Expect regression from that number throughout the rest of the season and the Wildcats will look like a better defensive squad later in the season, especially when they play a soft SoCon schedule.

Still think Davidson is a pushover based off of their Brooks-less Niagara loss?  Well here's the complete list of teams they lost to at home in the prior two seasons to this one:  Vanderbilt, Wichita State, Charlotte.  They defend Belk Arena like Drexel defends the DAC and they do it well.  If the Dragons get caught looking ahead to St. Joe's when they're playing a hungry team coming off of a bad loss, they won't just lose, they'll lose badly.  This is another game that previous years Drexel teams lose, and will be a test for this years edition to prove they are not your classic Flint team.  Since they've passed every other test, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here.

Prediction:  Drexel 74 - Davidson 70
Vegas Line:  Drexel -1

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