Thursday, March 6, 2014

It's Important To Say Thank You

Back when yours truly was a freshman at Drexel I went to games at the DAC, found them a fun way to burn some time, enjoyed the Bruiser Flint sideline show and went on with my day to day.  Then on my second co-op, I had a fantastic boss named Anthony Acchione, the Treasurer of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.  Tony adored college ball and specifically his St. Joseph's Hawks, and the year I worked for him just happened to be the year that SJU ran undefeated into their conference tourney.  Suddenly I was getting Sagarin printouts distributed to my desk weekly, spontaneous RPI related meetings were occurring at the water cooler, lunches were spent at the Irish Pub talking hoops over his usual order (cheeseburger, mustard instead of ketchup, no lettuce, tomato or onion please) and the boss was grabbing half days to head to various spots across the A10.  That dude is awesome.

At the same time, I found a little place called the CAAZone where some guys I didn't know much about were talking Drexel hoops.  One day, while not at all reading the Zone at work, some other student I'd never met said that he was leaving that noon to head down to JMU for the Drexel roadie and he had an open seat.  With other bosses, I might not have even bothered to ask for a spontaneous basketball related half day, but instead I was left wondering what the hell I had just done being in a car with three strangers and the city in the rear view.  That night I went from someone who enjoyed Drexel hoops to a Drexel FAN.  The guys in that car have become some of my best friends, and I'll be forever grateful to a Saint Joe's fan for making it happen.  Go figure.

Now I sling around Pomeroy stats at the office, talk bracketology over lunch, and take full days off to go to Boston, LA, Charlotte, Toledo, Muncie, and Peoria, to name a few.  I've met two different DU fans on two different occasions in New Orleans, and ran into Bashir Mason the week he was introduced as the youngest D1 head coach on Canal Street.  I've driven with friends through countless blizzards, dropped a fan off at the Lousville airport to spend the night, seen the old heads close down bar after bar in Richmond, walked with half the DAC Pack thru a McDonalds Drive Thru, and been pulled over both ways on a God forsaken day trip to Buffalo.

And I've done none of that alone.

This numbers guy hasn't kept numbers, but there had to be upwards of 50 different people who have been on these trips with me over the years.  Heck, we had double digits in LA this year alone.  There's a real and tangible Drexel die-hard community out there, and as we watch the CAAZone die a slow death, those people and so many more are still out there, and are willing to take time out of their day just to seek out and try to stay up to date on the product the DAC is pumping out these days.  While I desperately want a forum to exist that captures that interest and reminds the powers that be that there is a fanbase that does thirst for success and that does want to support this program, even I realize that the Zone ain't what it once was.  I was tired of the squabbling, the downtime, dealing with other schools fans trolling around, but I still love this school and this team, and apparently I may also enjoy hearing myself speak.

This blog was what became of that interest and desire, a place to capture the season, reflect later and at times vent, because sometimes that's helpful after your team has a 97.5% win probability in a game and loses.  Again.  Outside of a singular facebook post right at the start, I haven't advertised this monster anywhere besides Twitter and the Zone.  I didn't even start this thing in the preseason, it didn't begin until two games in, it was completely spontaneous and I was just looking to get my thoughts on paper somewhere that wasn't the message board.  Readership wasn't a concern.  I didn't expect my own mother to read it.  A handful of you all, some reporter friends who I have come to admire, on a good day maybe someone from the DAC would stumble on it and realize I wasn't a total jerk, but rather just a dude with opinions.  If I was lucky, 25 readers would be cool.

I was wrong.  In the past 30 days, almost 500 unique visitors have come to check this largely unadvertised blog out.  The previous story that I posted was clicked on over 100 times the first day it was up, and the blog crossed 10,000 hits last week.  In the grand scheme of internetty things, those numbers are tiny, but for a guy who thought he was writing to himself, I'm blown away.  The support from the aforementioned awesome writer types has been out of this world, especially since I don't even edit half of these post and feel like crap about them on a regular basis.  Around the league, the CAAHoops guys have been extremely supportive.  Most of all the emails from folks around the country, letting me know that they're enjoying Drexel basketball from afar and that this is helping them stay involved in our small community, that just thrills me.  It's also reminded me that even though this community may not be as active online anymore, or even seen around the DAC as much, it's still there and it's still strong, it just needs to be fed.

So thank you all for memories past, present and future, and for indulging me in reading the above.  As a key typer guy its great that people are reading, but as a fan who sees less and less folks I know at the DAC each season, its exciting.  Someday we will all get together and dance, and I pity the poor city that has to host us for that because it'll be a hell of a party.  In the meantime, if you're taking the time out of your day to read these musings, and also find yourself in Baltimore this weekend, come up and say hello.  First beer is on me.  Lets get the community back together.

Back to business:

In "crazy coincidences of the week" someone asked on the zone boards if it possibly helped that the Dragons lost to Northeastern just before playing them again in the tourney.  On that same day, Jerry Beach of Defiantly Dutch e-mailed me the following:

Since 01-02 in the CAA, when one team sweeps a team in the regular season the regular season winning team is 34-11 when they meet in the postseason.

Not entirely shocking that a team that has beaten up on another team continues to do so.  Which is what makes the below statistic so staggering, and maybe the biggest knock on the current DU coaching staff that I've ever seen.

In the CAA Tournament, the Flint era Dragons are 2-3 against teams that they have beaten twice in the regular season.  They are the only CAA team with at least 3 such losses in that time frame.

None of that says that beating Northeastern a second time would have hurt the Dragons of course.  Interestingly, the Dragons are 4-10 in the CAA Tournament against teams that they're playing against for the third time that season, but 2-2 against teams that they only faced once in the regular season.  So to answer the question, what do I think the best thing that Drexel could have done to help their tourney odds last weekend?  Forfeit.  Would I have done that if I were coaching the Dragons?  Of course not.

But I might go the extra mile with adjustments to the game plan this week before I play Northeastern again.

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