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.

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