Friday, January 24, 2014

William and Mary Pregame - What Have We Learned?

Yeah, the 90's were my jam

Do you smell that in the air?  A smell that's thicker than the greasiest 2am cheesesteak, a colder whiff than the coldest of winter winds, and slightly more rancid and ugly then a sunday morning frathouse.

It's the smell of revenge, and it's large and in charge at the DAC on Saturday afternoon as the Pantsless Griffins of William and Mary come to town.  The Fighting NotTribe have had a bit of a roadtrip from hell this week, flying into PHL during the height of the snowstorm on Tuesday, bussing to Hofstra only to lose amid a sea of guido's and friend of the blog, Jerry Beach, and then hanging out in frigid Philly before playing at the DAC and getting out of dodge.  At least when DU was stuck in New Orleans, the temperature was higher than the teams shooting percentage.

Between the W&M roadtrip, the revenge angle, and the 5 days of rest for the Dragons, off the court circumstances look promising for the Dragons in this game.  And there is on the court good news as well: In the first matchup between these teams the Dragons only shot 17% from three, while The College hit 48%.  Additionally, despite taking only one less attempt from outside the arc than inside, William and Mary went to the free throw line twice as often as Drexel, attempting 39 shots from the stripe.  None of that is likely to repeat itself at the DAC tomorrow which is a very friendly sign for the Dragons.  Along with all of that good news comes some from the trainers table as Dartaye Ruffin should be available for more than the 7 minutes that he played in the first matchup and the rest of the walking wounded will have had a full 5 days between games to ice up.

Despite all of the rough stats from the first game, the game wasn't a blowout.  Drexel only ended losing by 12, largely thanks to only turning the ball over 3 times all evening and some really nice jumpshot and layup games from the members of the supporting cast, as Fouch, Allen and Williams combined to be 15/20 (75%) from inside the arc.  The lack of interior defense by William and Mary must be remembered by the Drexel staff and guards going into this matchup.  On the surface the defense for William and Mary looks a lot like UNCW's second half defense did against Drexel, as the DU guards should be able to get to continue to get to the hoop and dish or score at will.  Frantz and Fouch both have no reason to have less then 15 points and 5 assists per man at the end of this one.

On the defensive side, I'll ask to the audience to allow me an effort to clarify some items from Tuesday's UD recap:

I have long been a proponent of Bru going outside the box and making adjustments.  At times I was just short of begging him to do that.  I was thrilled to see Bru breakout the zone and I really like the four guard set in the right matchup (and this game against William and Mary may well scream for it as Gaillard likes hanging out on the perimeter on the offensive end).  Sitting in 7th place in the league may not be time for screwing around, but this team has too much talent to end the season in 8th or 9th place, so it seems as good a time as any to take some risks, and these are the kind of risks that I like to see the staff take, in an effort to find out what works.  If that means blowing a game or two, like it may well have meant against UD, in order to be the strongest possible team in March, then blow some games, that's OK.

What makes my head explode is playing guys who are visibly and clearly hurt while running these experiments, especially when their injuries are ones where re-injury is likely.  If the staff is playing for March, then those guys didn't need to be out there.  If the staff isn't playing for March, and they really think that the defense played over the last few games is better then the straight three guard man to man setup that Bruiser has always run out there, then that's embarrassing for these players, it is an insurmountable obstacle, and they should all pack up and call it a season.  If that's the best defense for this team to be playing, it won't matter how many points they score.

So that's it.  It's the first revenge game of the year, DU matches up pretty well with these guys and should be able to score plenty.  The eyes of the fans will be entirely on the defense, and how the defense goes so shall Drexel go.

I can't believe I just wrote that with Bruiser Flint at the helm.

One last thing:  If you can get to the game early, head over to the Blue and Gold Club's Pregame setup, it's good value and you can meet and greet some of your fellow fans.  If you enjoy this blog, you enjoy talking Drexel hoop.  If you enjoy talking Drexel hoop, and you can get to the pregame, you need to be at the pregame.  Liberal, conservative, cats, dogs, everyone there will be on the same page on whats most important:  We love Drexel hoops.  Is there a better place in the world than that?

Prediction:  Drexel 75, William and Mary 62
Vegas Line:  TBA

OK Jerry, I played it:

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