Cleveland State comes to the DAC on Wednesday on the back half of their final bracket buster arrangement. The last time these teams met I was in a bar on Saint Charles Avenue in New Orleans with a girlfriend who was wholly supportive of being the only people in the bar at 10am central time. We were in for a treat, watching the streaking Dragons smack around Cleveland State to the tune of a 20 point win on the Vikings home court.
A good chunk of the players from both teams are back, although many can be considered walking wounded. For Drexel, Damion Lee is gone for the rest of the year, and for CSU, sophomore star Anton Grady is nicked up with a leg injury, Charlie Lee is out with an ACL sprain and Luda Ndaye is out recovering from hip surgery. All four players played in the tilt two years ago, and with these pieces missing, neither team is very deep which could prove interesting in the current foul environment.
Thankfully for fans, refs and coaches alike, both teams are best described as jump shot teams right now, no matter what their coaches may desire. The similarities don't stop there, as both coaches are known for their defense first mentality, both teams have one top 100 win this season and both teams shooting guards lead their teams in shots. This creates a not particularly Dragon friendly matchup of Fouch on the other teams best player. It's Bryn "Girls Name" Forbes whose hotter than Kate Upton on her good hair days right now, to the tune of 49% from deep.
CSU has already faced off against the older Flint brother, Coach Cal's Kentucky Wildcats and they played them close, only losing because it was 8 on 5 in Rupp that night. It was so bad that one of the CSU assistants was suspended for taking to twitter postgame and letting the world know his thoughts on the officiating. So again, a top 100 win, a road trip to a top 25 team that could have easily been a W... CSU is banged up a bit, but they're a good basketball team, and in a game of jumpshooters it could easily come down to the hot team winning. Anyone want to claim Drexel as a hot shooting team right now?
Besides Forbes, the Vikings to know are Anton Grady, a sound big man that can do a little of everything in the paint, and Miami of Ohio transfer Jon Harris. Drexel's new front line makes their life much easier than years past against guys like Harris, as they are no longer asking Ruffin or McCoy to trail opposing bigs to the perimeter, and instead can send someone like Abif who is much more comfortable doing it. Harris has shot more threes than twos this year, so look for high screens and set shots if Abif doesn't extend all the way out.
In order for DU to defend the DAC one of two things needs to happen: Drexel needs to be the hot shooting team and enjoy being back in the DAC, or they need to make the game not about jump shooting. Without their Lee, this CSU team is a seven man team, and they would just as soon not have Mason and Long in there if they could avoid it. If Drexel takes it to the rim and can take Grady and Harris out of the game early, they can make this a fun little evening at the DAC. If it's a jump shot game though... don't leave early.
Prediction: Drexel 66-63
Vegas Line: Drexel -7.5