Monday, December 29, 2014

Iona Postgame - Learning from Dumpster Fires

Final:  Iona 81, Drexel 62

Player of the Game:  Freddie Wilson
Key to the game:  Not having a clue
Next Game:  Sunday January 3 vs Elon @ the DAC

I blew the preview for this game.  Just not good at all, and I want to come out and apologize to all readers for the misstep.  I hope everyone knows my thoughts on personal responsibility by now and knows that I will take this seriously and will improve from this.  Thanks as always for reading and any and all feedback that is offered.

Drexel bigs took only _(10)_ of the teams shots, Tavon struggled from the field so while he scored __(18)__ points he took__(18)__ shots to get there.  Officiating wasn't great but didn't effect the outcome.  Bru totally blew it by running his usual offense and by no seriously, running his usual offense. 

First, the good:
  • Kudos to Bru/Connors for recognizing the fact that Mohamed Bah was not nearly quick enough to keep up with the pace of this game and that Bah continues to struggle with shot fakes.  While DU could have used his rebounding, Laury would have abused Bah all day long in a one on one battle, so trying the younger more athletic players was the correct call.
  • Freddie Wilson won the blogs Player of the Game, marking the first time anyone has ever gone 0-fer from the field and won the award.  As painful as 0-8 was to watch, when London struggled and Bru called on Freddie for longer than normal minutes, Freddie put up this stat line:  6 assists, 0 turnovers.  Freddie played a fast paced Iona team and kept pace and was secure with the ball.  Playing as a pass first point guard in an uptempo attack is exactly Freddie's type of game, and his solid play went alongside a decent defensive effort as well.  Now he just needs to get a shooters roll for once in his career, because the shooting is just brutal.
  • Austin Williams didn't look ready for prime time, with 2 turnovers and 5 fouls and just 5 boards (zero offensive boards) in 24 minutes.  He was definitely spent down the stretch.  But he showed athleticism and ball skills that a Drexel staff could have a lot of fun with next year.  
  • Similar to Williams, Sammy Mojica continues to be a dynamic player who is becoming a force.  He filled up the stat sheet in this one with 10 points on 8 attempts, 5 rebounds, an assist, block and steal.  Sammy seems to have a nose for the ball on both ends of the court and can fill up the bucket while on the floor.  He needs to follow Rashann London's lead and catchup to the speed of the college game, but when he does he should be seeing 25+ minutes a game, every game.
  • From the final line of an excellent gamer from City of Basketball Love, Bru echos what I have been saying since the preseason:  "From a talent standpoint, if we get it together we'll be fine."

The flip side of the coin.  Iona is a very poor defensive team, they win games by outscoring opponents, but the Drexel squad (coaches and players) seemed to go out of their way to ensure that the Iona defense would look good. 
  • At least three times this game there was a Drexel player standing alone under the basket.  None of those times did those players get the ball passed to them by their teammates.  
  • Tavon Allen was being guarded by 5'9" Ibn Muhammad, and Tavon didn't shoot over him, didn't go into the paint, and didn't post him up.  Creating and exploiting mismatches is a cornerstone of college coaching, but instead of creating an isolation situation for Allen vs Muhammad, Drexel ran its normal offense and failed to take advantage.  
  • Damion Lee took only 11 shots in this game, and the front line combined for only 10.  Meanwhile Allen took 18, Wilson 8, and London 9.  The dragons have fallen in love with the jumpshot again and neither Lee nor the forwards are getting good looks often enough.  
  • Speaking of falling in love with the jumpshot, DU had only 18 points in the paint and was outrebounded against a smaller, finesse, jumpshot team.  Drexel was 4 for 18 from INSIDE the arc in the second half of this game which was the story that no one is talking about.  While Iona was slashing to the basket and drawing contact, DU players seemed almost frightened of contact and were just throwing balls at the rim from 5-10 feet out.  It was a weak (Bru would use another word), non-physical, abomination of an effort in the paint, if there was any effort at all.  Grandmothers drive harder than these guards do and it is an absolute embarrassment.  To be out-physicalled by Iona, a run and gun no defense team that wins with speed shouldn't be tolerated and is totally uncharacteristic of a Bruiser Flint team.  Abomination, embarrassment, dumpster fire, you pick, but this is something in that neighborhood.  For color:
Fouls Drawn per 40 minutes, Drexel Guards:

Current DU players in bold
The chart above doesn't look bad until one notes that it uses current year stats for current players, and for all other players I used their freshman* stats only.  Also, due to rule changes the current players are playing in a more foul happy/ offensive environment.  

This team just isn't physical enough, doesn't play in the paint enough, and doesn't involve their forwards enough.  Period.  They aren't going to out jumpshoot anyone, and their offense revolves around the jump shot.  And that brings us to the last note from the Iona game.

  • From the final line of an excellent gamer from City of Basketball Love, Bru echos what I have been saying since the preseason:  "From a talent standpoint, if we get it together we'll be fine."  Last year Drexel had 6 seniors, including 2 members of the All-Conference Team, and a member of the freshman All-Conference Team.  That team went .500.  From a talent standpoint, they were way better than that but they never put it together.  In 05-06 Bru had Elegar and Crawford, Mason, Mejia and Sanchez and went under .500.  From a talent standpoint, if they had gotten it together they would have been fine.  Pick a year, pick an under performance.  The problem isn't Bru, it's Eric Zillmer enabling Bruiser with contract after contract.  But we know that. 
Bruiser thinks the talent assembled is greater than the current product on the floor.  We know that too.  But whose job is it to collect, nurture and get the most from that talent?

"From a talent standpoint, if we get it together we'll be fine."

For maybe the first time, Bru didn't blame the players, he took personal responsibility for the problem.  He just may not have known he was doing it.

*Dominic Mejia's (transfer, NC State) stats are from his first season at DU

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Iona - Pregame

When I write these previews, usually I write it up, then read and post Alan Dvorkis' thoughts, and then check the Vegas Line so that I can post it.  I prefer to write before looking at those particular filters, although looking back now one wonders what the advantage of writing with less information is.  I mention this because for the PSU game and now the Iona game, I read Alan's writing before writing my own.  Which created a new problem:  in the case of this game, I overwhelmingly agree with Alan and don't want to make you read the same thing twice.  Hence, a little change in style for this preview, as you will see this through my lens, leading off with Alan and then with a followup from myself.  Without further ado:

Alan Boston's Notes:  Now in his 5th year, Tim Cluess has certainly upgraded the talent level at Iona. He has got high level transfers to attend Iona, an anomaly in the MAAC. He has got talent there by playing a wide open fast paced style. I would expect Drexel to try and slow this to a crawl. Iona is not hopeless in the half court, but it is Drexel's only shot at winning. Iona has some impressive wins on their resume, at Wake Forest, a blow out at North Texas (who just steamrolled Creighton) and in their last game they blew out Florida Gulf Coast 86-67. 

This is a very good spot for Drexel. Although Iona has those 2 road wins they have also been blown out by supremely coached Wofford, not surprisingly at Arkansas and a bit more surprisingly at Monmouth and at George Mason. So Iona is very beatable. This is also Iona's next to last non conference game, now that that ridiculous, ill conceived bracket buster has ended. The bracket buster was supposed to be a way for mid majors to get a big win on their resume. Ultimately the powers that  be, made it a way for mid majors that were locks for at large bids, to lose, making them bubblish. Each and every year, the strongest mid majors would be thrown to the wolves, Tom Brennans Vermont team had to play at Reno after playing Stonybrook. The flight got delayed. They arrived the day of the game with no sleep. Nevada shot like 55 foul shots to Vermont's 10. Vermont lost. Luckily Vermont won their conference tournament and went on and fucked up the committees favorite, Syracuse. That was followed by Bucknell, coached by the great Pat Flannery making Bill Self look like the fool that he is. This happened every year. Trust me on that. It was a big time sham. Glad it is gone. Anyway, Iona is at Drexel then at UMass on the 30th. These final road games prior to conference can be tough on the road team. Of the 2, UMass is certainly a bigger game for Iona than Drexel. There is some chance Iona could be a bit flat here. Drexel will be rested. A couple of the banged up players should be 100%. They have shown some fight lately. If Bruiser avoids running with Iona, a minor upset should happen. Drexel by 5

Where I disagree with Alan:  I don't know that DU needs to play a halfcourt game against Iona. To date, DU is holding opponents to under 50% effective field goal shooting and has been top 75 in the country both in defensive rebounding and keeping opponents off of the free throw line, all this against a top 100 strength of schedule.  To date DU's opponents have combined to have some of the quickest (30th nationally) possession times at an average possession time of just 16.6 seconds.  The Dragons have defended these running teams fairly well, and when you figure out how many points have been scored against them off of fast breaks (turnovers) one realizes that this Drexel team has been pretty strong defensively.  Add to that how good the Sons of Bru looked late in the Penn State game when they were pressuring and running uptempo possessions to get back in it, and don't you just kind of want to see what the Running Dragons would look like?

A point that I would like to Alan's:  Iona can shoot.  I mean Iona can SHOOT.  #5 in the country in Effective Field Goal percentage, 43% shooting from outside the arc (and they pull the trigger from 3 a ton) and they get to the foul line an awful lot when they do drive.  In every game this season except one Iona has shot an eFG% of over 50%.  By comparison, DU has gone over 50% only twice this season.  If the opposition is almost assured to outshoot you, you better make sure that you take more shots than they do.  While rebounding should favor the Dragons, it'll be turnovers that are all important.  If the DU guards can continue to look as sound as they did for the final 35 minutes of the Penn State game, then Drexel can win this game.  If not, it'll get ugly quick.

Where I agree with Alan:  Great spot for Drexel.  Just a great spot.  They showed tremendous growth in their last outing, then got some rest, and now have a final game to show that they have figured some things out before conference play.  On the flip side, Iona is on the road at an empty DAC, off of the layoff, maybe looking ahead to the quick turnaround for their game against UMass just two days later.  If Drexel was ever going to win this matchup, this would be the game.

Quick aside on the Bracket Buster.  People smarter than me keep telling me that it was a terrible experiment.  As a Drexel fan that's tough to admit to, since it may have helped DU more than almost any other team.  However, as much as it helped it still never got Drexel dancing, so the naysayers might have a point this time.

Prediction:  Drexel 77, Iona 71
Vegas Line:  Iona -4

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

PSU - Learning From Our Mistakes

Final:  Penn St 73, Drexel 68

Player of the Game:  Tavon Allen
Key to the game:  Sharing the Ball
Next Game:  Sunday December 28 vs Iona @ the DAC

Drexel bigs took only _(14)_ of the teams shots, Tavon struggled from the field so while he scored __(15)__ points he took__(10)__ shots to get there.  Officiating wasn't great but didn't effect the outcome.  Bru totally blew it by letting Brandon Taylor shoot in the first half and by not going to the four guard lineup

The mad libs above was fun this time.  It was fun because while yes, the bigs should have gotten more touches, Bru didn't blow this game.  Tavon took better shots this game.  This game wasn't as close as it looks in the final box, but that doesn't mean that there wasn't some good takeaways as we creep along towards conference play.

First the negative:  The pregame post mentioned how tough of a matchup Brandon Taylor would be and how DU always struggles to cover bigs on the perimeter.  In case anyone was worried that Bru reads this blog, he closed the case on that by allowing Taylor free reign in the first half as Bru and the Gang watched him scored 14 points including 4/6 shooting from behind the arc.  At halftime, adjustments were made and Taylor went scoreless in the second half, with just 3 three point attempts.  If that adjustment was made going into the game or during the first half, this game may have had a different outcome, and yes, you could see it coming, especially since it was in writing right here.

The big matchup that never panned out was Lee vs Newbill.  Newbill's line looks good, but he only hit 5 field goals.  Lee could learn a bit watching Newbill on tape as DJ made his money from the foul line in this one.  Lee on the other hand was kept quiet as Pat Chambers kept switching defenses on him.  The one thing that is discouraging is the push out of the locker room in the beginning of the second half that led to Lee throwing up multiple blocked shots.  If a 6'6" guy is having 3 pointers blocked, he wasn't open.  DU was forcing the ball and trying to get him involved and that plan backfired badly and led to PSU running away with the lead.  Damion has to find a better way to use his teamates (again, passing to the bigs is a problem with this squad) at times like those.

The last negative is a bit of the elephant in the room and will be expanded upon with a later post, but Rodney Williams hasn't been living up to expectations.  Admittedly, it must be difficult and frustrating when you have his kind of ability and are put in a position to just watch your guards play offense instead of being involved.  At the same time, he hasn't been putting the ball in the bucket this year when he does get opportunities and that's a problem.  Whether this is a "shooters gotta shoot" problem and the issue is that the coaches haven't involved him enough, or whether this is a talent problem we just don't know, but his hands look good and the smart money would seem to be on his lack of involvement being a problem.

The good news was really good.  For the first time this season Drexel had a better rebounding percentage and less turnovers than their opponent.  While DU spotted the Nittany Lions 10 early points off of turnovers, the remainder of the game was fairly sound.  Penn State had to earn this win and they did so by getting to the line (an issue for DU) and shooting the ball really well.  While the score was pretty lopsided at times it was nice to see a Drexel opponent need to win a game rather than Drexel giving it to them.  That progress is significant.

While speaking of progress one must also speak of Sammy Mojica's 14 points on 10 shots.  The fact that he took 10 shots is the story there.  Mojica has ability, and in the past when Bru has chosen not to use guys with ability it was usually an issue with the players work ethic.  I can't speak towards Sammy, but it's something worth keeping an ear out for if you're a DU fan, because if he figures things out it looks like he could add a nice touch to the offense.   Related:  DU had 4 players who scored double figures this game.  That may have taken some pressure off of Tavon which led to Allen's (by far) best line of the season.  He took open shots, he took only 10 shots, and he still led the team in scoring.  That could be huge if it's the start of a trend, so keep your fingers crossed.

Defensively, Drexel got back into this game by applying pressure.  While the bench isn't deep right now, this roster is the most athletic that Bru has had in years and maybe ever at DU.  They should have pressed against Buffalo, but it seems clear that this team isn't hurt, and is possibly helped by playing uptempo.  The fact is, as bad as Bru's offense is year after year, this team needs easy baskets to survive, and pressure and uptempo games help out with that.  In Saturday's game, they almost wiped out a 20 point deficit in the blink of an eye with a combination of pressure and hitting quick, open looks.  It's well past time to see this become a part of the DU repertoire.
One last note:  Austin Williams was back and dressed for play, well ahead of when he was projected to return.  A very welcome sign for him, the team and the fans.
We'll be back with an Iona pregame after Christmas, and then some pre-conference season analysis, including the annual "Beers of the CAA" league preview.  Thanks again for reading, and have a happy and joyous holiday.     

Friday, December 19, 2014

Pennsylvania State University - Pregame

On its face, the 10-1 Penn State Nittany Lions playing against the reeling 2-6 Drexel Dragons on a neutral court looks like a bloodbath.  Scratch the surface a little deeper though, and some interesting items come up.  For one, PSU is 10-1 while playing only 1 team in the top 125 in the country (KenPom).  On DU's side of the ledger, 5 of their 6 losses came against teams in the top 125.  Factor in that PSU is an undersized, jump shot team playing in a brand new half empty building with a background that they haven't seen before and coming off of their best win of the season, and the scales even out a little bit.

There is one and only one title fight in this matchup, the major battle in this war and it features Philly's own (Strawberry Mansion HS) DJ Newbill facing off against Damion Lee on the wing.  Both of these guys take over 30% of their teams shots when they are on the court, and can beat you with in the gym range or take their defender off the bounce and get to the stripe.  This should be an absolute treat to watch and I want to encourage everyone to keep an eye on them, even during the few times when they are off the ball.

Offensively for the Dragons, there's two ways this game can go.  They can settle like they have so often and make it an Allen and London jumpshot affair, or they can take 10 of those possessions and go to the rack like they did against Buffalo and make it a Lee, London and Williams pick and roll game.  For all of the flack (much of it rightly deserved) that Bru has given Rodney early in this season, Rodney continues to have the best hands that a Drexel forward has had since at least Samme Givens, if not before.  He's ready for passes and he does good things with them, especially when defenders are helping off of him as they are prone to do since the guards so rarely execute the pass.  Against a smaller team like PSU, jumpshots are simply the lazy way out, but if you see those three guys get to the paint and to the line, you will likely also see a competitive game.

On the defensive side lies the problem.  PSU is pretty good at getting to the rim themselves, and all five guys on the floor have range out to the three point stripe.  While the Drexel team forwards are more athletic this year than years past, coverage out to the arc still isn't great and 6'6" junior Brandon Taylor will be a headache for the Dragon bigs.  While the PSU guard core (not named Newbill) has struggled from distance this year, they love to push into the paint and get to the line, so once again the Dragon frontcourt depth will be tested.  Look out for the dreaded 4 guard lineup, as thats become akin to Bruiser waiving the white flag.

Before looking into this matchup as well as reading Alan Boston's thoughts (below) I thought this game was going to be well into blowout city.  Looking deeper, I may have been giving PSU a bit more credit than they deserved.  If DU makes it a jumpshot game it will get out of hand, but if they get to the basket, look for it to be competitive and for Drexel to have a shot late.

Prediction:  PSU 62 - Drexel 54
Vegas Line:  PSU -6.5

Alan Boston's Notes:  Allentown?? I shall skip the 42nd street reference, at least for now.
Penn st played easily their most impressive game of the year in routing a very good George Washington team last Sunday, 64-51. Prior to that game had been a mixed bag. This is Pat Chambers (former Jay Wright asst) 4th year, so these are all his players. This school has always been a tough sell in basketball. Ed Dechellis did about as well as any. Finally, he gave up to take on an impossible task of making Navy relevant. Don Devoe only comes along once in a lifetime. So Penn st remains a lower tier big ten team and likely will stay that way in our lifetimes. Chambers is a very good recruiter. The talent has been slightly upgraded, but they are what they are. A good Drexel team would be a small favorite on a neutral court. Sadly, this is not a good Drexel team. I do not watch them enough to tell you why. This team is underachieving. They showed some fight in losing to a good Buffalo bunch. If Penn st comes in a little flat off of their home run effort, an upset is not impossible. Unfortunately, you just know that if it is close down the stretch, Drexel will not get there. Penn St by 2

SUNY Buffalo - Learning From Our Mistakes

Final:  Buffalo 80, Drexel 70

Player of the Game:  Damion Lee
Key to the game:  Rebounding
Next Game:  Saturday December 20 vs Penn St (PPL Center)

Drexel bigs took only _(11)_ of the teams shots, Tavon struggled from the field so while he scored __(10)__ points he took__(12)__ shots to get there.  Officiating wasn't great but didn't effect the outcome.  Bru totally blew it by playing Tavon for 38 minutes and by going to the four guard lineup again.  

This game was a bit of a weird one for Drexel.  The Bulls want to get out and play a guard based uptempo game and the Dragons let them.  On the road, on short rest, letting your opponents dictate the pace of the game had all of the makings of a trip to blow out city, but the Dragons dug in and fought, keeping the game close right up until the final minutes.  While a 10 point loss to Buffalo looks bad on paper, and to many Drexel fans, the effort that the Dragons showed in a very uphill battle should be lauded.  Beyond that, the development of Rashann London continues in real time.  He'll never be a blog POTG until he stops passing the ball to the other team, and his shot selection still leaves something to be desired (London seems to be looking to set a team record for "on the line 2 pointer attempts") but he's putting the ball in the bucket.

A quick update with Pomeroy O-Ratings for Drexel guards:

Damion Lee:  112.8
Rashann London:  85.7
Tavon Allen: 73.2
Freddie Wilson 69.1
Sammy Mojica:  100 (small sample)

Again, 100 is what you want to see for a starting player so this...  isn't great.

Going into this game we knew that Buffalo likes playing small and fast, and that the DU coaches may get lured into playing a 4 guard set for a bit.  That happened, although foul trouble and poor games from the big men certainly played into that decision.  The guards also started showing a desire to get to the rim themselves, and were able to do so successfully against the smaller UB lineup.  Bru has been pushing for them to drive more, so consider this a big step forward since the La Salle game, and it paid off:  DU shot 54% from inside the arc in this one, their best performance of the season.  If the team keeps fighting for each other, and the guards continue to progress, this doesn't need to be a lost season.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

State University of New York @ Buffalo - Pregame

On March 16, 2005 one of the best games that most will never see was played at Alumni Arena in Buffalo, New York.  Two up and coming programs, Bruiser Flint's Drexel Dragons and Reggie Witherspoon's Buffalo Bulls squared off in a first round NIT game that night and the seniors on both teams played like that game could be their last.  Many of those seniors names are still regularly mentioned on both campus', from Goss, Brooks and King to Buffalo's supremely talented Turner Battle.  There was so much heart and emotion on that floor that the roof was about to blow off when Buffalo pushed the game to overtime.  Drexel lost that game in OT, and my friends and I left the building, as proud as we had ever been to be supporters of Bruiser Flint's Dragons.  Words can't describe the number of guys whose bodies were sprawled across the floor that night, the fighting for rebounds, the guys playing games of their lives while playing out of position, it was all there.  If I was Bru, or Bobby Hurley, I'd show that tape at team meal before the game tonight.  I'd show that tape and tell my guys that if either team plays with the heart that those guys did, totally buys in to the program, and more importantly to each other, you'll win today.

Jeremiah King had 25 points that day, playing out of position at the point guard.  He had been playing off the ball during his senior year as freshman Bashir Mason was running point, but Mason had been injured in a CAA Tournament game against Hofstra and was unable to go.  That note, just in case anyone thinks that upperclassmen can't play out of position at the point (and still score in Bru's offense) in order to help out a freshman point guard.

Jeremiah isn't walking through that door today though, and neither is Phil or Sean.  And if they did they would be grey and old would still start.  Instead, Bruiser Flint will start a team that is young and exciting and will get better (that's true).  The Bulls are 5-2 despite only having played 1 home game to date and have multiple road wins over respectable teams (UT Arlington, Canisius), and a loss to Kentucky that I think we can all get by.  Last year, Bobby Hurley was off and running and had a really respectable first season at Buffalo, including a road win at the DAC (Drexel shot 7% - no typo - from behind the arc in that game).  Hurley's young, athletic guards will be aggressive in forcing turnovers, so this game could have a similar feel to the La Salle game for the DU guards.  Jarryn Skeete has been shooting above his weight from the outside thus far this year, but for the most part the jumpshot shouldn't be the primary defensive concern, as the Bulls will penetrate and try to get to the line.

Where Buffalo has had trouble this year is in the interior.  They play a lot of 4 guard action (trouble) and while they have been missing Senior big man Xavier Ford with a concussion you can expect him to return for this game (trouble).  The best three point shooter on Buffalo is Senior Virginia transfer Will Regan who is a 6'8" big himself so look for a big man out behind the arc, a spot the Dragons have historically struggled to deal with (trouble).

This is a Drexel team that has just been lit up (publicly) by their coaching staff, is on the road with short rest, is facing an opponent that is playing well and is a very tough matchup for them.  DU will have a rebounding advantage and that's about it, this game just spells trouble all over the place.

Prediction:  Buffalo 75, Drexel 56
Vegas Line:  Buffalo -10

Alan Boston's Notes:  Two years ago, Buffalo U very strangely let go one of the better coaches in the country. Reggie Witherspoon performed magic acts year in and year out. For creating an honest overachieving program, he was let go. He is now an assistant at Alabama. Buffalo felt a bigger name, Bobby Hurley would ultimately lead to greater things, or what truly all that matters, make more money for the school. The Hurley's did great things in their brief stay at Wagner. Brother Dan will likely have URI in the NCAA or at worst NIT this year. But how do you improve on Coach Witherspoon? Bobby Hurley was left a strong team last year, but with much of that talent gone, this figured to be a down year for the Bulls.

They started the year with a riveting win over a good mid major, South Dakota St. Then they played Kentucky close deep into the 2nd half. Two days later, the young team that should have been sapped from monumental Kentucky effort went to Texas Arlington and won 74-68. It has only got better from there. They won in Grand Canyon, crushed their big rival Canisius. After losing to another rival St Bonny, they went to Robert Morris and destroyed what has been a very good program under Andrew Toole 74-59. This team is as good as last years, which was one of the best teams ever fielded at Buffalo.

Good things lie ahead for this program, that is until someone from a power conference shoves a large amount of money Hurley's way. That will happen soon. Presently his young and improving team gets disappointing Drexel. Sad to say, that if Drexel does not show a bit better, it might be time for a change. I love Bruiser, so that is difficult for me to write. yes he has been super unlucky with injuries the last couple of years, but there is something not right with this team. They should not be losing at home to St Josephs, should not be blowing big leads to USC or needing to rally to beat Cornell. Unless he rights the ship and soon, this will be a difficult year for a team I thought was the favorite to win the league. They have a long bus ride ahead and I am afraid it will result in a blow out loss. I hope Bruiser figures things out by conference time. If so, an NCAA bid is not that big a long shot. As for now, this game could get ugly quickly. Buffalo by 16

Monday, December 15, 2014

La Salle - Learning From Our Mistakes

Final:  La Salle 65, Drexel 55

Player of the Game:  Damion Lee
Key to the game:  Turnovers
Next Game:  Saturday December 16 @ Buffalo

At this point we could all do a fill in the blank postgame writeup:  Drexel bigs took only _(9)_ of the teams shots, Tavon struggled from the field so while he scored __(14)__ points he took __(15)__ shots to get there.  Officiating wasn't great but didn't effect the outcome.  Bru totally blew it by not pressing in the final 5 minutes when down double digits and by going to the four guard lineup again.  

Writing all of that for another few paragraphs isn't all that fun though, and I'm writing for free so lets talk about major flaws that were made more relevant than usual in this game.  All that, after one note that I'm absolutely hot about to the point of losing sleep:

Early morning December 9th, not 10 blocks from La Salle's campus, Philadelphia Firefighter Joyce Craig-Lewis was trapped in a burning home and tragically lost her life.  When Drexel played La Salle in a city matchup within hours of FF Craig-Lewis being laid to rest, no mention was made.  No moment of silence, no collections for the family, nothing.  With every other team in the city honoring her and the Department at their games, not doing so while playing La Salle stood out.  Drexel Athletics, your mission statement says that you "Empower personal growth, diversity, and leadership through a commitment to community outreach."  The professional sports teams in town showed that they were leaders, and part of the community.  Drexel stood silent.

Athletics, it's not too late, and I sincerely hope that the Dragons do step up and lead a drive to assist her family.  For those of you reading this, please realize that Athletics doesn't need to lead this charge, we can show Drexel and Philadelphia pride on our own.  If you feel the desire, you can send checks payable to Local 22 - Joyce Craig Lewis Memorial Fund to IAFF Local 22 at 901 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107.  

Back to the issues in the game at hand:

1)  There's more than a small chance that the Major Canady injury is hurting this team beyond what people anticipated.  It's early yet, and we have seen significant growth from Rashann London already, but currently the turnover rates for him and Freddie Wilson (27.1% and 22.7% respectively) are not great, and the type of turnovers in this game were cringeworthy.  In the preseason, I stated that Freddy shouldn't be the backup, it should be Damion Lee, and I stand by it.  Damion is currently leading the team with a 14.1% turnover rate. It's a lot to put on his shoulders, but Damion is playing like a guy willing to do anything to help the team win, as his rising rebounding numbers indicate.

2)  Tavon Allen is back, and while his numbers (and missed dunks) don't look great, to the eye test he looked much more mobile.  He was more willing to pull the trigger, he got his hands into the opponents passing lanes, and he was vocal in leading his teammates.  Even his shot selection wasn't brutal.  By far his best game of the season, and hopefully indicative of what is to come.  

3)  Give credit where credit is due.  La Salle's man to man defense brought back memories of some of the elite Drexel defenses over the years.  Those guards really got after it and forced the DU guards discomfort.  La Salle had 7 more points off of turnovers than the Dragons had, in a game that they won by just 10.  That defensive pressure certainly appeared, by the numbers and eye test, to be the difference in this one.

4)  With 10:33 left, I tweeted out:

From that point on, Drexel shot 7/12 (58%) and ended up losing by 10.  Clarity:  La Salle extended the lead while Drexel shot 58%.  Bruiser's four guard formation rotation crushed this team in the CAA Tourney in Baltimore, and it appears that Bru hasn't learned his lesson.  It has been an absolute catastrophe for this team to play 4 guard every single time he has used it for the last year and change.  Someone needs to get in his face about this, because if he keeps running this out there, the season is going to keep going like it is right now.

This team desperately needs a clean game.  There's a short turnaround and then a game in Buffalo tomorrow, against a team that likes to play an aggressive man defense.  Wish the Dragons luck, they need it.

Friday, December 12, 2014

La Salle University - Pregame

The La Salle Explorers are going to charter a bus with a driver familiar with the Philadelphia area in order to help them find the DAC on Saturday.  Once they leave the DAC, they may have an idea where they, and the Dragons, are going.

On its face, the Explorers walk in the better team, sitting 4-4 to the Dragons 2-4.  Take a step back though, and you see a lot of similarities:  Neither of these teams has beaten anyone worth talking about, and neither team has taken the embarrassing loss.*  Much like all of the other teams in Philly proper that don't play home games at the Palestra, we don't know where these teams are going yet.  Both are young and figuring themselves out, and whoever leaves this game a winner will have a new best win of the season.  With La Salle coming in on a 4 game losing streak and the Dragons coming off of the D-II embarrassment, this can be a jumping off point for two teams that badly need to rally.

La Salle plays with a roster type that Drexel should be familiar with, with long guards on the perimeter who have really struggled shooting and very little interior depth.  They will run a short bench if they can which creates a double edged sword from the referees.  The Explorers need to get points on the foul line, but if the game becomes a foul fest then they their interior depth issues will quickly be exploited.  On Drexel's end that makes the play a simple one: pass up the contested three and drive for contact.  Jerrell Wright and Steve Zach are shot blockers, so this isn't the game for Rashann London's floaters, its a game to be aggressive and force the contact.  Be certain that when the referees are making calls, its on the interior of the explorers defense.

Shot selection will be critical for the Dragons since teams will be frustrated all day long by La Salle's length at all positions.  The three point attempts that teams have seemed to have been begging the Dragons to take all year may not be there this game.  Trading in three point attempts for midrange jumpers is not a trade that Drexel will win.  If the only guys who showed up in the Game We Will Not Speak Of were big men, lets all hope the guards remember who almost bailed them out.  The guards still need to launch the shots when they get the looks from deep, but this game will be all about taking the smart shot.  And that will generally mean playing in the paint.

On the defensive side of the ball, there's just not a ton of threats to deal with.  Obviously with a team that is struggling from three a zone would be ideal, but back here on Earth DU fans know its a man to man game.  In what should be a low scoring affair, keeping the Explorers off of the foul line can't be underlined enough, it's absolutely crucial not to give away free points or help out an offense that is quite frankly not very good.

Senior Steve Zach hasn't been a legit threat since Sophomore year.  DJ Peterson wants to sit behind the three point line or pass making him a non-factor in a man to man game, Georgia Southern transfer Cleon Roberts wants to have a game like Damion Lee's, but as of now he couldn't tie Damion's shoes for him.  Delaware transfer Khalid Lewis was something of a joke at UD (O-Rating 84.7, in 56 minutes vs DU that year he had 8 points and 6 fouls) and has shown few signs of growth in his two seasons in Olney.

It'll be Auburn transfer Jordan Price and rare non-transfer Jerrell Wright that Bruiser Flint will look to concentrate on defensively.  Price has shot poorly to start the season but showed a good stroke in his freshman season down south.  He's taking over a third of his team's shots when he is on the floor and will use all three options when he has the ball, pass, drive or shoot.  Keeping him quiet will slow down, if not shut down, the Explorers offense.

The best man on the floor for La Salle is Wright, the 6'8" 245 lb senior averaging 12.5 ppg.  He'll look to back the Dragons smaller bigs down and get deep in the paint.  The Dragons forwards should watch the tape of the adjustments that they made against Southern Mississippi's Norville Carey for a blueprint on how to play Wright.  Watch Wright off the ball and see how the Dragons forwards do at denying him space deeper in the paint, and how well they draw fouls on him at the other end of the court.  Wright's game, and the game, may well be determined by what happens when he doesn't have the ball.

These teams have combined to score more than 70 points twice this year (La Salle both times).  In a rockfight at the DAC, this game will be won by the team that gives away less points.  Turnovers and fouls are absolutely paramount.  With two weeks to prep, on a home court that La Salle hasn't played on since before their players were born, the smarter team needs to be in Drexel blue.

Prediction:  Drexel 58, La Salle 54
Vegas Line:  La Salle -3

Notes from Alan Boston:  La Salle has not bore the fruits of their NCAA run. The program has edged up a bit, but the almost expected home run, has not yet happened. I root for this team. I was horrified when they hired John Giannini 11 years ago. He did just a terrible job at Maine. The hire was a shock. I was wrong. Coach G has done a terrific job. He has recruited well. His teams play with at least a modicum of intelligence. I root for La Salle. Although point guard was a question mark at the start of this season, I thought La Salle would have a good year, at best an NCAA bid, at worst some lesser tournament. I am not quite sure where they stand. They began beating a very tough Colgate team then a very nice win at Quinnipiac. They then handily beat St Peter's & St Francis NY. They showed great resolve by making a huge run at a top 5 team in Virginia. The loss to Vandy was almost expected. They were never in the Villanova game but never let it get out of hand and finally in what is I think the most important game played in Philadelphia this year, La Salle & Temple played a riveting affair at THE PALESTRA. 

Yes, the greedy fucks who are focused on destroying college basketball for the sake of money, allowed a city game to be played where it should be, at The Palestra. College sports should not be about money or fame or highlights on ESPN, but college sports were played to packed gymnasiums with students on the floor, because of rivals, because of traditions. College was not a minor league for the NBA. It was not about coaches like the Coach K's of the world becoming CEO'S. It was about kids who went to college, who happened to enjoy playing basketball. Then ESPN was born. The Big East was created to be ESPN's cash cow. Then scumbag Rollie Massimino decided that Villanova was too good to play their games at the Palestra. It did not take long for others to follow. Phil Martelli held out as long as he could, insisting that all city games should be played there. I hope that tradition returns. I went to every Big 5 game when I attended Penn. There was nothing like half the tickets being sold by each school. The game were riveting. The crowds the same. Massimino and his ego are long gone. Philadelphia should return to its roots. So I am happy that at least one game stayed true, even if it may have been for the wrong reason. But I digress. La Salle is better than Drexel, but not by much. The game should go to the wire. Just to pick something, I shall take La Salle by 2 as I do think they have the better team. Either way, it should be a hell of a game. It would be even better if played at The Palestra. 

And no, I am not writing that as a Penn grad. I am writing that as a college basketball fan.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What do you say you "do" here?

I do try to keep this blog concentrated on the Drexel Basketball product on the floor, but in a week without basketball, sometimes we walk away from the mainstream for a minute.

Fellow self proclaimed "Masshole", and Drexel student @That_Couch_Kid asked me "what do you guys do?  Live tweet every debilitating loss?" on twitter this morning.  That question was the bright spot in what has been a bleak Philadelphia morning so I decided to run with it during this hoopsless week that we are in the midst of.

Originally this site was started because the CAAZone was going down the tubes, literally, and figuratively.  I love college basketball and the Dragons in particular and The Zone had been the place where I met people with similar interest, exchanged ideas and learned quite a bit over the years.  It was at one time a community that was full of vibrant, outspoken opinions on a thriving and up and coming program in a thriving up and coming conference.  For every Richmond loss there was a car load of zoners who showed up to Bashir Mason's buzzerbeater at VCU, were there to help hand Louisville their first loss at the Yum! Center, witnessed a win over the SEC at Madison Square Garden, and enjoyed the 19 game winning streak of 2012.  Being there for the letdowns is what makes those (and many other) sweet moments just so sweet.  And as with anything, having a community to celebrate with is a lot more fun than celebrating alone.

So DragonsSpeak was created initially so that I could continue sharing my thoughts and (hopefully) informed opinions with other people with similar interest, because while the conference and the CAAZone may have gotten somewhat stale, on gameday Drexel Basketball is still a lot of fun.  And much as I found people through the zone, I've found people through DS that have made me a smarter individual as well.  Alan Boston is brilliant and I'm thrilled when we disagree because I am about to learn something.  I received an email (still working on it, I promise) that resembled War and Peace from @MedicSBK, who is now talking about getting season tickets next year.  I desperately want to bring back that old Zone community because at its most basic level a University should be about the free flowing exchange of ideas.  Schools are built on debate, hypothesis' and attempting to prove them, and so are the great sports discussions that lead to great sports fan bases.  So we should encourage this, and all viewpoints.  We should even encourage those words that come out in a moment of anger after a loss to a D-II team.  As a supporter of Drexel Athletics, I hope to continue to encourage that here (and it's why I encourage use of the comment fields and always try to answer and respond to comments there, on twitter or email).  More open commentary means more fans and more fans just makes it more fun for all of us (and more cash for Athletics).

That last paragraph leads me to the third piece of the puzzle.  There are a lot of potential fans and a lot of potential thoughts to be heard and if you work at the DAC, most of what you hear will be yourself.  Take a look at the staff directory, or better yet, keep it to the highest paid staff in the building, the Men's Basketball program:

James Flint - Head Men's Basketball Coach
Mike Connors - Associate Basketball Coach - On the same staff as Bru for 22 years
Matt Collier - Assistant Men's Basketball Coach - Bru's Team Manager at UMass
Bobby Jordan - Assistant Men's Basketball Coach - Played for Bru at Drexel
Winston Smith - Coordinator of Basketball Operations - Played for Bru at UMass
Kennell Sanchez - Operations Assistant  - Played for Bru at Drexel

College sports are by their nature incestuous, and rarely do guys fall far from the coaching tree, but which one of those guys brings the fresh cutting edge idea to Bru?  Who says "Bru, you're wrong?" when most of those guys have never been in another system?  And what is true on this staff is just as true at the top level of the DAC.

The problem with an echo chamber is that eventually one believes oneself to be always right, or believe there is no other way.  It's important to hear the other opinion.  It's absolutely critical to learning, and to improving and evolving.  Giving every possible benefit of the doubt, this Athletic Department is "resistant" to outside opinions.  That's not going to change but if this blog encourages conversation, and even just a few of your voices get heard, at least another position will be out there and be known.  That's important.  And as a supporter, I want them to hear all of the sides, I want them to continue to evolve and learn just as badly as I want myself to.  Especially because their track record at the top level stinks:

--The flagship Basketball Program is 0-15 in their goal of winning their conference while Eric Zillmer has been Athletic Director

--  Average Kenpom rating in Bru's first four years when he was using another coaches recruits:  127           Average Kenpom rating since that time (excluding this season):  127
The argument that Drexel needs Bru to pull in better recruits is flawed, his recruits have played no better than Seymour's and Bruiser has been recruiting with a stronger conference affiliation and an improved DAC.

--In the Zillmer/Flint era there have been 407 games played.  The DAC holds about 2500 fans.  Even if the Dragons had zero fans when Bru set foot on campus, all the staff needed to do was make 7 new fans each game in order to be selling out the DAC now.

Last year the DAC averaged 1880 paid tickets per game, showing that not only have they not gotten those 7 more fans per game, basketball game attendance growth is below the level of campus growth.  The Athletics marketing plan is performing at a negative rate!

Not striving to obtain outside views is bad.  Not striving to obtain other viewpoints when your current strategy hasn't been working for more than a decade is much worse.  I support this program, and I want it to succeed.  So I write here, and hope you continue to read and write here as well, in hope that even one person inside the DAC will see that there is another viewpoint out there, voiced by people who want to help.  It's a University, learning is the goal, and we should be hoping that every possible voice and opinion is part of that conversation.  It makes us all better.  And that is the very long answer to a very short question, @That_Couch_Kid.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Short Term Long Term

"Does anyone care if we win this game? Why does score matter?"

Those words were posted by a wise man me on the CAA Zone Boards prior to Drexel playing the University of the Sciences on a chilly night at the DAC last night.  A lot of people seem to be embarrassed by the outcome, which is not helped by the constant hum of the engines in Bristol, Connecticut.  Nobody is wrong, when you drop a weight class and still lose a fight there will be some egg on your face.  A lot of Dragon donors went to work today thinking of ways to avoid the water cooler, and that's understandable.  Heck, I doubt the men's coaches want to hang out at the water cooler at the DAC today.  No one anywhere is saying last night was a good night for Drexel Athletics.

But it didn't end the world.  This changes nothing in the CAA standings.  Quite frankly, it doesn't even remotely change the season outlook.  No one got hurt.  It's doubtful that a recruit is going to change their mind over this.  Remember when VCU lost to Virginia Union a few years ago?  The Patriots even lose to the Jets sometimes, and they are much worse than Division II.  Those games really crippled the Rams or Patriots, eh?  

This game was a bump in a road for a team, and a program that maybe needed to experience one.  Whether or not they need to, it was going to happen simply because this team is not very good right now.  That was true before the game.  Step back and look at the big picture, and this game wasn't nearly as glum.  This game actually checked off a lot of boxes that makes the staff seem much more competent than one might think.

Tavon Allen got a rest.  While playing Damion Lee for all 40 was a little silly it looks like the 4077th Dragon Unit will walk into the DAC healthier in a week and a half than they walked into it against the Devils.  After spending every single postgame talking about lack of using the forwards, it was the big fellas that took 45% of the teams shots last night and, perhaps assisted both by their own continued development and their favorable opponent they were very successful with those shots.  The bigs also went 5 for 5 from the charity stripe. For a team that has desperately needed balance, that is a huge, huge step.  The forwards continued the early season trend of being strong on the offensive glass as well, pulling down 45% of missed DU shots leading to a staggering 21 second chance points.

It wasn't all bad news from the guards either.  The turnover rate still isn't where the staff may hope it eventually gets, but at 15% it was their second best performance of the season in that department.  Again, some of that is probably due for an opponent adjustment, but in that critical category, any good news is progress.

An inside game, lack of turnovers, rebounding and Damion Lee.  That's a roadmap for success.  It's a combination that we hadn't seen all season.  And if the team continues to make progress in those areas, the Dragons will have a competitive team come conference season when games actually matter.  That should be the goal.  In yesterdays game the Dragons took steps towards achieving that goal.  A wakeup call showing how poorly they had been playing probably didn't hurt either.  

I'm not embarrassed today (OK, I'm a little embarrassed today, but not much).  I saw steps in the right direction for the second straight game.  Baby steps.  Sometimes the kid falls down when they try to learn to walk.  Progress is ugly.  But there ARE signs of progress, and after seeing none of those signs in the USC game, I'm just fine seeing baby steps now.  Keep on the Denise Dillon plan.  Let the staff find something that works in out of conference play and keep their eyes on the real prize, which is in the league play and in Baltimore.  

Now, if this team loses to f---ing Delaware this year...  Check back


One quick Editorial (ha, like this blog gets edited...) 

I would like to see Drexel fans go out there on Twitter and wish the Devils luck on the rest of their season.  While Bru said that the Devils deserved to have won the game in the press conference last night, that sentiment gets slightly stepped on when he also says "What message do you think you're supposed to give a team after you lost to a team like that?"  Major BCS level coaches have said some really decent things about Drexel being a good team after losses to Bru and his squad in the past, and it's always been a feather in the cap of this program.  I hope that the DU community rises to the occasion here too and shows some good sportsmanship to a team that walked into the DAC and rolled out having earned the win.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Good News and The Bad News: Where We Stand

With the season 20% done, and 14 days between D-1 basketball games, it seems as good a time as any to assess where the Dragons stand.  It hasn't been a pretty trip to a 2-4 record, and neither win is against a team likely to finish ranked in the top 200 at the end of the year, but all is not lost yet.

What has to be the primary area of concern at this time is simple discipline.  After spending most of the prior season with fans debating the merit of disciplined shot selection, there is good news on the horizon.  Courtesy of, we see improvement (apologies for the formatting, rows go last two seasons and the current, with current at the bottom):

Importantly we see more shots taken at the rim and from distance, and considerably less mid range jumpers.  Since the plays that are being run seem similar, it's unknown yet if this is small sample size, or if the coaches have tried to push the shot selection agenda this year.  Regardless, it's worthy of appreciation and all fans should hope this trend continues.  

No, the problem that this team has this year is not shot selection discipline.  The problem with this years team is much more basic than that.  Without question, part of the discipline problem is going from a four year point guard to a freshman, but that isn't the only issue.  It's been like the Bad News Bears out there at times this season, exemplified in plays such as:

--Tavon Allen insisting that Rashann London takes the ball out of bounds to inbound to Tavon just for Allen to pass it back to London, all of this done in an empty backcourt against no pressure

-- Mohamed Bah and Sooren Derboghosian debating who would inbound against the press, and creating a turnover without ever attempting an inbound

--Tavon Allen falling down and losing the ball in the backcourt against no pressure only for a Drexel player to run back from the frontcourt and recover the ball.  Normally fine, except the player that ran back was Rashann London - what was the point guard doing in the frontcourt?

--Freddie Wilson time after time going into the air and not knowing what he is going to do with the ball

These are just basic lack of discipline plays, and while everyone knows that there have been injuries on this team, it's times like these that lead to people wondering if these guys have ever played together.  That's extremely disheartening in a year where the team had a preseason foreign tour - which the Athletics Department made a donor priority in the offseason - because the Dragons should have had a head start on all other schools, an additional chance to get acquainted and work out kinks before the season has started.  I'd be curious as to what the people who donated towards the trip think their return on investment was.  That's not saying that I would disagree with donating to those trips going forward, they are great experiences for young men that we want to see succeed, but if the Department will be asking for donors for it, they need to show an ROI to the school and team as well as the individual.  These types of very basic breakdowns in knowing where one should be on the basketball court have as much to do with the teams early struggles as their poor shooting, and they should have been cleaned up before this team ever saw live action.

Going deeper into the poor shooting, please allow for one more chart.  Below is a list of all current DU players that have taken 30+ shots this season.  A reminder on effective field goal percentage (if you learn one new stat this year, please make it this one) is here and next to that on the table is the O-Rating, which is a (big man friendly) metric of a players effect on the offense.  An O-Rating of 100 is a pretty good baseline for a league average guard, slightly higher (110) for a forward.  For comparisons sake, I randomly selected the individual worst seasons (by eff fg%) for five prior Dragons:

As you can see, Allen, Williams and  Wilson are having a historically bad start to the season.  London's frequent turnovers has his O-Rating right in line with the rest of the gang, which is especially disheartening as he is running the point.  The good news is, we have reason to believe that this is a small sample size and not true talent, and that these rates will improve.  Rashann London is already showing significant maturation on the floor and more confidence than he had in the first couple of outings.  Tavon Allen will get healthy.  Rodney Williams shot 51% last year which the eye test makes us believe is much closer to his talent level (as long as he avoids more elbow jumpers).

The Bad News Bears stuff will be overcome too.  No one is running around claiming this is in the top all time 10 highest basketball IQ, but the basic stuff should go away.  Bru may need to remember his old days of yanking guys off the floor quickly for reinforcement purposes, but it's not a complex offense to figure out and Division I basketball players should be able to run it without running into each other.  Add to that the real secret:  when these guys are in the half court and get into the offense, they don't look bad.  We've seen some sneaky good forward to forward passes, Damion Lee getting open and even Tavon Allen setting his feet behind the three point stripe at times.  A little more penetration, and a little less calamity, and there's still a chance this team gets it figured out.  The rest of the out of conference season is preseason.

Keep your eye on turnover percentage, that will be the signal as to whether or not these guys are figuring it out.  If they do, the CAA season can still be a discussion worth having.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Southern Miss - The Happy Recap

Final:  Drexel 59, Southern Miss 36
Player of the Game:  Damion Lee
Key to the game:  The Bigs!
Next (D-I) Game:  Sat Dec 13 vs La Salle

In a game between two bad teams, Drexel proved themselves better in the new and improved DAC on Sunday.  If Patriots vs Packers was a Super Bowl preview, then this game had all the hype of a preview of the CBI Consolation Game two seasons from now.  All this in front of an atmosphere in which, had a tree fell in the DAC, people would have heard it make a sound.   Out of conference basketball on Thanksgiving weekend everyone, feel the excitement!

We did learn a few things in this game, notably that Damion Lee is BACK (now shooting 48% from distance in the early season).  At halftime the score was SMU 21 to Damion's 19, which gives DU a pretty good shot of winning the game, however when Lee took a backseat on offense in the second half, Drexel's scoring took a plunge.  This game was probably more of a statement on SMU basketball as the Dragons won by 23 but still left the game with a laundry list of issues, including but not limited to:

1)  Scoring imbalance:  In a game in which the big men dominated the opposition (over 40% of Drexel's missed shots were grabbed for offensive boards) the DU bigs still didn't break even 20 points as a group.  Early on Rodney showed a faceup game against his man that was brilliant, going baseline and breaking past the defender for a dunk, later he hit a hook shot, and none of these were attempted again.  Tyshawn Myles came off the bench and racked up 10 boards, but only got 3 shots and ended the game with just two points.  This is fun:  Mohamed Bah had 2 buckets, neither assisted by a guard, while he had 2 assists to a guard.  The complete and utter refusal to feed the post, even when the forwards are dominating the other team, after Bru said in preseason that he wants the big guys to score, is staggering.

2)  Turnovers:  The 11 turnovers may not seem bad until one notices the pace of the game.  There were only 54 possessions in this game, so the Dragons still turned over the ball over 20% of the time which is, in a word, atrocious.  For perspective, the Dragon's never turned the ball over 20% of the time in a game last season.  This season they have already done it 3 times.

3)  The third rail:  Rashann London seems to be gaining confidence and improving his play at the point as the season moves on, while Tavon Allen and Freddie Wilson continue to struggle.  If you see a Drexel coach on campus, ask them why an injured player who is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 31% needs to ask to be taken out of a game.  Freddie is hitting 19% from deep himself right now, so competition there is not, but Mojica seems smooth with the ball and the U Sciences game might be just the time to give him a shot.  The team is hitting the point where giving Sammy a shot is worthwhile, simply because he can not be worse.  I'll continue to stand by the idea that Freddie will shoot better as soon as he is taken off of the point permanently.  Keep it simple.

While it wasn't a great win, there were bright spots (Lee's shooting, the defense on Bingaya and in the second half the adjustments with Carey, all while dominating the boards).  Someone once said that you have to start somewhere, and winning by 20+ is a pretty good way to start the trek back to decency, no matter who the opponents are.  While no one should get ahead of themselves and think this team is back, or even competitive with good teams, movement in the right direction is important.  When out of conference season started I spoke of the Denise Dillon using OOC play to work through her rotations and finding what works for the CAA season, and there's signs of the Dragons men doing this.  With two weeks off just when the Dragons needed them, they have a chance to come back in shape and looking competitive when we see them again in Mid-December.