Monday, February 3, 2014

UNCW Pregame - Defend the DAC

The Drexel Dragons are 1-3 at the DAC in conference play this year, and the one win was in overtime.  If you've shown up to half of Drexel's eight home games this year, there's certainly an argument that you've shown up four more times then the mens team has.  The Dragons are an uncomfortable 4-4 at home this year and the only teams that they have beaten in regulation both have RPI's and Kenpom rankings worse then 300th.  For that matter, with ten minutes to play against Saint Francis (PA) it was only a five point game.  Drexel is 0-7 against the vegas spread at home, which certainly insinuates that they have under performed in seven out of seven opportunities this year.  Quite frankly, this team has been nothing short of a complete disaster in front of the chairbacks.  If that feels like deja vu all over again, it's beacuse it looks a lot like last season when they went 5-8 in front of the home fans.  If that makes you feel uncomfortable, then good... it should... you're a fan, and that is ugly.

Maybe its time for the DAC Pack to move to behind the basket again, or for the team to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Center City (proud sponsor of Drexel Athletics) before games, or maybe its time to wear the road jerseys, but something has gotta wake these fellas up.

Of note for fans, you can pretty much count on this game happening regardless of snow fall totals.  UNCW has been in town since they played Delaware on Saturday and they lost a game in the ice storm at Wilmington last week so rescheduling this one would be a bit of a nightmare.  It may be an empty DAC, but hey, maybe that will help.

The flip side to all of this is that the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks have not been the Seattle Seahawks this year.  The dub has been vitamin C, ibuprofen, morphine, emergency surgery, and whatever Nate Hemerley does for our servicemen and women (Nate is a Drexel alumnus and US Navy Physician as well as someone I'm lucky enough to call a friend) all in one.  If you're in the CAA and you need to feel good, just play Wilmington.  They just hung tough with Delaware, giving up a lead late, and they've played (relatively) well on the road this year, taking Northeastern to OT, losing by 1 at UD, and playing Charleston and Towson within single digits en route to their 0-7 conference record.

The flip side to that is that they had their hearts crushed 2 days ago, all took scholarships to go to the school at the beach, got snowed on last week in Wilmington, are getting snowed on now and probably just want to get on the plane to go home.  Regardless, with the eighth ranked offense in conference play (kenpom) and the eighth ranked perimeter shooting as well, this is a great case of their totally stoppable force meeting Drexel's very movable defense.  It's not exactly a test for the Dragons and no one will be saying "they stopped UNCW, the defense is back!" but a good effort may go far for the teams confidence and Bruiser's sanity.

Drexel has their own mental trap to overcome, coming off a tough loss themselves with only one day between games.  It's tough for professionals to take teams that are winless seriously, let alone college kids, and they've got a 4 day rest to look forward to after this one.  For a team full of walking wounded, that must look tempting.  Between that and the likelihood of a pretty quiet DAC tonight it would be very easy for a team that has struggled at home this year to continue to do so.

This is certainly a game that they should be able to struggle and win (see their first game this year vs UNCW) but it could be an ugly sight.  One thing that any DU fan should find completely unacceptable is pushing the injured players too much tonight.  Dartaye has now played at least 25 minutes in the 5 games since his return and he seems in the clear, but Abif certainly isn't into full gear yet, and most critically Tavon continues to struggle very much with that ankle, tweaking it again at Towson.  His ankle clearly continues to be weak and susceptible to injury.  He played 34 minutes against Towson which was expected what with Towson's tall perimeter shooters, and similarly he was out there partly to help deal with the 6'6" Upshaw at Hofstra.  UNCW doesn't have any tall shooters and there's an argument that they don't have any shooters period.  Unless he comes out on fire, there's no compelling reason to play Tavon more than 15 minutes or so tonight before he gets those big 4 straight days off to heal.

If you're looking for pretty basketball tonight I highly recommend Iowa St at Oklahoma St on ESPN.  If this weather has caused a fever for you though, and the only cure is Drexel basketball?  Then it's time to enjoy some Drexel pepband cowbell and get to the DAC tonight.  Safe travels to all.

Prediction:  Drexel 67, UNCW 62
Vegas Line:  Drexel -11

1 comment:

  1. Looks the pep band is going to have to earn their name tonight!