There is a scene from West Wing in which the White House speechwriters are trying to crank out a speech introducing a new Vice President, they don't really like the guy, but they know that he needs to be introduced with strong support in accordance with the importance of the position. They struggle to do so and crank out two drafts, one that shows how they actually feel, and one that is intended to go public.
The game at the DAC tonight is right in line with this. While you shouldn't read too much into the first game of the season, in the first game of these season both of these teams appeared to be well, not good. Drexel lost by double digits at altitude, while Saint Joe's kicked off the season with a home loss to Fairleigh Dickenson. Unless the first game of the season was a total fluke, the game tonight at the DAC is meaningless.
Or, as they will put in the press release: Huge game tonight! Watch the rivalry between SJU and DU continue in the newly remodeled DAC! Two city powers fighting for pride, in another round of the epic matchups that have gone back and forth. Come one come all!
Regardless of which view you take, it shapes up to be a good game. The line came out around a pick and with both teams coming off of poor outings, they will be scrapping for a win. While Drexel would like to gain some momentum going into the Charleston Classic, it's SJU that is desperate for a win. Due to what can only be called bizarre scheduling, the Hawks will play at the DAC and then board a plane the next day so that they can get absolutely blown up in Spokane, playing Gonzaga on the road on short rest. Anything short of a historically bad loss would be good news for the Hawks in that one, and a win was off the table the day the schedule came out.
In the game played last year between these teams 130 points were scored, 70 by players who won't be participating in this game tonight, so while this maybe an ages old rivalry, look for a new edition tonight. Dragon fans are thrilled to see Halil Kanacevic gone along with Langston Galloway, while the Dragons are without Fouch and Frantz. In their place look for DeAndre Bembry to try to rebound off of his opening day performance (he dropped 18 on the Dragons last year) and Chris Wilson to step up to lead the Hawks while Lee and Williams answer the bell to lead the Dragons. Dragon fans may not be familiar with Chris Wilson, but don't sleep on him, he's a skilled big man who has only been riding pine for most of his career because of how good Kanacevic and Ronald Roberts Jr were for the team from Hawk Hill.
The keys to this game for the Dragons are pretty simple. The guards need to answer the question of whether or not they can shoot. While they had excuses leading off the season at altitude against a tough opponent away from home, there won't be any at the end of this one. The Drexel staff and fans desperately need to see then hit their open looks. On the flip side, Coach Flint noted that the team needed to get the ball inside much more than they did last year when he spoke before the season started. At Colorado they got the ball inside even less than last year instead. While again, there is an excuse - the Colorado front court was extremely talented and the advantages in that game were at the guard spots - there's no excuses this time. Bru needs to folllow up on his promise and ensure the ball gets inside.
I'll take the experience of the Dragon guards against the Hawks as the Dragons show a better shooters touch, stay even or better on the glass and win the turnover battle in the DU home opener.
Prediction: Drexel 69- SJU 63
Vegas Spread - Pick Em