Friday, March 28, 2014

Starting the Look Back

With only two weekends of basketball left, and Drexel done for the year, that time has come.  It's the time to look back and reflect, analyize and then decide what we can do better, as fans, players or administrators.  Some friends of mine were flipping around emails today on what they most enjoyed about the season, and some of my answers are below.  Truth is, this was a seaon with one of the most talented Drexel teams of all time, and they spent the season hovering around .500.  Many fans will be spending Final Four weekend hoping that Bru will accept an assistant job at Kentucky, where he can go and recruit for Cal in private jets with more seating room than he has in his Drexel office.  And for reasons we will get into later, that would be a win/win all the way around, except for the whole moving to Kentucky thing for Bru.  Maybe he's a bourbon guy though.  Today we ignore all that though (the flip side will be coming next week, I promise) and come to realize that given how much this team underperformed, there were still some incredible highlights this year:

Three clearly at the top:

MSG.  Triple OT.  No Damion Lee.  Walk out a winner anyway, and then getting to see one of the best games of the premire out of conference games of the year, Arizona/Duke?  That`s a solid evening.

Pauley Pavillion.  Double dgit Drexel fans hopping a plane out, and the coaching staff taking care of us like they always do.  Bru always wanted to coach at Pauley, I always wanted to see a game there, and a game it was, right to the end.

Watching the DU/NU game in Baltimore while knowing with 100% confidence that Chris Fouch was going to go nuts in the second half and then watching him do it.  Seeing a kid that clutch is why I think he's my favorite DU player ever. I'm a stats guy and stats seem to argue that "clutchness" is a myth.  Thing is, I believe in Chris Fouch more than I believe in numbers.  Incredible kid, incredible talent, and the fact that he chose to play his senior year at DU when he could have played anywhere is a tribute to every member of this program, and his own sense of loyalty.

The rest:

Drexel at Davidson, VA state trooper and all.  Went to the game with my senior year housemates and got the road W, then the roomies place in Charlotte for a Christmas party.  What a trip.

A CAA tournament in Baltimore?  In Baltimore?  #DragonFail or not, a great weekend with lots of CAA friends.  The reason why it's still snowing in March?  This is Yeager's hell and it has frozen over.

The success of the blog, totally unexpected and because of all of you.  Can't thank you enough for making this feel like a worthwhile venture, and also to you BT editors who helped me along the way.

It's no secret that I've had rocky relationship at times with the DAC staff, but that some of them were willing to step up and spend some of their valuable time to assist me in various ways tshoughout the season was a highlight for me personally.  Special thanks to Molly Rallo Zaluski (edit: sorry Molly!) and Mike Tuberosa, both of whom are really quality people.

Hofstra.  Frantz Massenat.  HU fans, just tip your hat and call him your daddy.

Watching Delaware lose.  Always watching Delaware lose.

And can Bruiser Flint make the positive list?  You`re damn right he can. Love it or hate it, how long have fans been asking him to do something, anything at all, outside the box?  Was the four guard lineup attrocious?  Absolutely.  Did the zone resemble a bad 2-3 that you would see at the pickup game courts Bru played on when he was 14?  Yup.  Did they both look like panic moves from a coach that was scared of injuries and knew his team was underperforming, and stuff that the team wasn't nearly prepared to execute succesfully?  Sure.

But none of that is the point.  He did it.  That's all that matters.  13 years into not thinking could learn new tricks, he tried something new.  Who knows, maybe some of that sticks and the team will have a whole offseason and China trip to impliment it this time.  Anything is possible, Kevin Garnett told me that.  I can be upset he used it in the conference tournament, but I have to be downright giddy that he tried it in the regular season.  You don't think this is a big deal?  Try doing something for 13 years and then changing.  Have fun with that.  Bru showed the willingness to do it, after years of many fans, myself included, almost begging.  And for that I am thankful.

Next week, part two.  Thanks for sticking with the blog, and thanks for sticking with Drexel basketball.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A quick update - We slowly progress

I never thought that I could play basketball for the Drexel Dragons...  Until now

Hey mom, I broke my hand, I'm just like the Dragons now!

I apologize for the delay in getting new material to the page this week and feeding those of you who are jonesing for your Drexel Hoops fix.  Due either to a misplay in net by yours truly, and/or someones voodoo doll working, a week that was supposed to involve typing for the blog has ended up full of x-rays and MRI's.  While the sun may be setting on Drexel's campus out my window, and on the Dragon season, there's plenty to look back on and continue to ask ourselves how this program can improve.  Obviously a good chunk of what bears looking at resides in two offices, and unless my arm goes through a woodchipper we'll start with that the middle of next week, with a column that won't include a single opinion from me, and almost no stats at all.

Thanks for your patience, and see you next week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Northeastern - And So It Ends

Final:  Northeastern 90, Drexel 81
Player of the Game:  Chris Fouch
Key to the Game:  Play in the paint
Next Game: ??

All season long the post game columns here after losses have been entitled "Learning From Our Mistakes".  It's important to learn from history, and while my thoughts on Bru and the staff's performance over the course of the season will be on a later post, when I've had some time to really get it right, and offer the Athletics Department the chance to comment, some of it has to come up with this game story.  This was written in the post-game of the last game before the new year, a home loss to Buffalo:

"The coaching left, being generous, something to be desired.  The continued overreaction to foul trouble doesn't help the team.  For all of the managing of fouls that they did, not a single player from either team fouled out.  Sure you run a risk playing a guy with fouls, but Bobby Hurley managed McCrea aggressively and challenged Drexel to knock him out of the game.  The Dragons hid their starters on the bench."

"Tavon Allen - almost half of the teams turnovers by himself.  I honestly believe his basketball IQ has improved, but the collection of turnovers and midrange jumpers should have him running laps right next to the coaching staff."

Tavon only had one turnover in this one, but the continued poor shot selection left him just 3-10 from inside the arc.  When Chris Fouch was a freshman, he was on the court for less then half of each game on average because Bru thought he was a turnstile on defense.  It was a teaching moment for Bru.  Why the staff treated Tavon's questionable shot selection without pulling him all year I don't know, what we do know is that not learning and adjusting caused trouble for the Dragons in this game.  Having both Ruffin and Massenat sit with four fouls while down double digits with less then 10 minutes to play also made one wonder what they were being saved for.  And while the bigs struggled, the crown jewel in this game was called right here on the DS twitter as it was happening:

The Dragons went to the four guard at the 4:53 mark of the first half, with the score NU 23, DU 15, when Tavon Allen checked in for Mohammed Bah.  They got out of it at the 2:57 mark when Pantovic subbed in for Canady.  In that minute and fifty six seconds, Northeastern had four possessions which netted them a three, a trip to the free throw line, and two dunks.  All told nine points in four possessions, while the Dragons had a bucket in the paint (Frantz), two turnovers and a missed jumper, good for two points in four possessions.  The lead ballooned from 8 to 15 in those not even two minutes and there was no looking back.  The Husky coaches wanted to play in the paint all night (Eatherton, Spencer and Stahl had 23 of the 52 field goal attempts that NU took and took an additional 26 free throws) and the Drexel staff gave them two minutes of rolling out the red carpet to do it.  After getting destroyed against UD trying to play the four guard all DU fans wished never to see it again, and while no one knows what was going through the heads of the staff at the time, it certainly paints a picture of a panic move from the bench, trying to decelerate a Northeastern surge and instead accelerating it.

A hat also needs to be tipped to NU.  They outshot expectations from the free throw line, they finished at the rim and they dominated the boards.  After playing Drexel twice, Coach Coen knew that these were the pain points for the Dragons, had a plan to go after those pain points, and the players executed that plan.  It was the best game by NU of the three they played against Drexel this year and even if Drexel had played well, this was going to be a tough ballgame.  Some times you get beat, and sometimes you beat yourself, and this game was probably somewhere in the middle.

In a game that the Dragons lost by nine against a team that did play well, that two minute, seven point surge and some smarter shooting from Allen could have been the difference.  We'll never know.  But maybe it's time to start learning from our mistakes.

With an RPI of 133, the Dragons may have a shot to pickup a game in the CIT.  Usually this is a good play if the team has a lot of younger players that could gain from the experience.  This Dragons team may not be that team, but if Chris Fouch is healthy (he told me he was, but that was pre- x-rays) I'd like to see them in that tourney.  The Athletics Dept paid for the ladies to play postseason ball last year, they do usually do right by their players, and I for one would like to see these seniors have their tourney run, even if it's in a marginal tourney.  Records will show that these Flint teams do better when the opposing team hasn't seen them before, so a tourney setting might well be favorable to a CAA Tourney setting.  If the kids want to play in it, I hope the Athletics Department supports it.

There will be more on the blog in the next couple of weeks, let it be CIT coverage or just looking to next year (God help me, I'm optimistic about this roster).  We'll have some recruiting stuff pop up from time to time in the next couple on months as well, so feel free to keep checking back.  I'll be sure to let people know on twitter (@DragonsSpeak) when something gets posted.  Most of all, thanks again for your support.  It was great to meet a couple of readers for the first time down at the Tourney, and I'll try to keep this monster chugging along.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Northeastern Pregame - And So it Begins

While the below is my single game preview for the first tourney game, 
I highly recommend that you view both my quick tourney preview from Monday,
as well as commenters Drachenfire and Alan Boston's comments on Tuesday's
piece, the combination of which are a great tourney preview on their own

Never before has one game pulled so hard in two very different directions.  Once again, all of the following are true:

--Northeastern starts zero seniors
--Drexel has six active players with a Kenpom O-Rating higher than 100, Northeastern just two.
--Northeastern is ranked lower than 200th in both Kenpom rankings and the RPI, Drexel is 10-3 against RPI 200 or worse teams this year
--In 12 seasons as Drexel Head Men's Basketball Coach, Bruiser Flint has won coach of the year 4 times

Looks like a landslide!  Then there's the other side of the coin:

--In 12 seasons as Drexel Head Men's Basketball Coach, Bruiser Flint's Dragon teams have won in the first round of the CAA tourney 4 times
--Northeastern is in the top 100 in the country in both getting to the line, and not putting opponents on the line, Drexel isn't in the top 100 for either and is bottom 100 for putting opponents on the line.
--Eatherton and Spencer, the big advantage that the Huskies have on the court, at the 4 and 5, struggled last game, and the Huskies still won
-- Both times these teams have faced off this year, the entire Dragon starting frontcourt has fouled out
--In 7 seasons as Northeastern Head Men's Basketball Coach, Bill Coen's teams have won in the first round of the CAA tourney 5 times

Pomeroy has Drexel as a 68% chance to win this game.  The talent level between these teams is probably greater than that.  The experience is on the side of the Dragons.  The location and number of fans in attendance will be on the side of the Dragons.  The only CAA First-Team player in this game is on the Dragons (congrats Frantz!).  This game should be, needs to be, and will unlikely be, a walk in the park.  

We can talk about the matchups, how helpful Tavon has been in guarding a long wing like David Walker (only 28% from the floor and 4 foul shots attempted in the two games against the Dragons this year), how much Dartaye Ruffin is an MVD in a game like this, and how badly he needs to stay out of foul trouble, and how we expect Chris Fouch to eat the Huskies alive, especially late in the game.  If there's one number to watch that will factor into the outcome of this game, it will be offensive rebound percentage, if Drexel can compete with NU on the boards, this should be the Dragons game to lose, which is why keeping Dartaye on the floor is so important.

At the end of the day, Drexel has their #5 and #6 all-time scorers on the floor against a team that isn't in the top 200 in college hoops.  Failure shouldn't even be in the discussion.  At the end of the day, I'll believe in one of the most clutch players Drexel has ever had wear the blue and gold, and his First Team All-CAA partner to overcome their coaches track record, in a game in which the Dragons biggest opponent may be themselves.  One of these times, Charlie Brown is going to kick that football.

Prediction:  Drexel 66, Northeastern 60
Vegas Line:  Drexel -4

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.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spread the Tempo - Part Two

On sharing the ball:

-Drexel finished the regular season 16-13 (8-8)
-When Massenat and Fouch combine for 49+ points in a game the Dragons are only 2-2 this year
-When Massenat has 6 assists in a game the Dragons are 8-1

On Pace:

Drexel played five non-overtime games this year in which there were at least 68 possessions:  UCLA, Illinois State, Arizona, Delaware (twice).  Four of the games were away from the DAC and the Dragons were 2-3 in those games with an average point differential of -2, against opponents with an average kenpom ranking of 73.

Drexel played twelve games this year in which there were 63 or less possessions:  Tennessee St, St. Francis, Southern Miss, William and Mary (twice), UNCW (twice), James Madison (home), College of Charleston (twice), Northeastern (away).  The Dragons were 6-6 in 7 home games and 5 road games, with an average point differential of +3.5 against opponents with an average Kenpom rating of 214.

Reader of the blog and national college basketball guru Alan Boston was kind enough to help me out with the following:  The 73rd ranked team in the country is New Mexico State, who is likely to win the WAC.  If Drexel were to play them in Las Cruces, Drexel would be about a seven and a half point underdog.  The 214th ranked team in the country is Cal Poly,  If Drexel were to play them on a neutral court Drexel would be a five point favorite.

The spread between those two outcomes is twelve and a half points.  Yet when DU plays a string of games against uptempo teams that average 73rd ranked teams on the road, vs a string of teams that play slow with a road/home close to even split, the spread was only 5.5 points (-2 to +3.5).  They outplay their expectation of losing by 7 against the fast team, and under perform their expectation of winning by 5 against slow teams.

Need more data?  Drexel is 7-1 against the spread when the game has more than 66 possessions.  They're 6-8 against the spread when there is 66 or less possessions (again, only counting non-OT games) in the game.  If we consider the spread to be a reasonable determination of expectations, then Drexel is much less likely to have a Baltimore letdown if they push tempo.  And oh by the way, the only game the Dragons didn't win versus the spread when the game was uptempo?  The game they went 4 guard against Delaware.  Throw that out as an anomaly since they're not going to do that again, and the Dragons would be a perfect 7-0.

In both of the games that Drexel has played this year against Northeastern, Drexel played a slow paced game.  Both times the Dragons were favored.  One time they went to OT, the other they lost in regulation.  This.  Is.  Important.

Toughness is a word that every coach likes to talk about for a variety of reasons, I'm sure none of which include the fact that it's entirely arbitrary and no one can call them wrong.  I don't know what any coaches definition of toughness is, but I'd imagine that letting the other team dictate how the game is played and the pace of the game shows a lack thereof.  The Huskies will want to play this game low and slow, and the Dragons shouldn't grant that wish if they to avoid another CAA Tourney letdown.  No one here is saying that the Dragons suddenly need to turn into the running rebs, or even the Delaware Blue Hens, but when they have an opportunity to push the pace in transition, they should use it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Welcome to March

There's just something that feels intrinsically good about filling out the first bracket of March.  In parenthesis is each teams Kenpom ranking as of regular seasons end.

Assorted and randomly ordered notes:

By far the hardest two games to pick were DU/UD and William and Mary/ College of Charleston.  In both cases I probably went heart over head.  With DU/UD both being at relative full strength for the first time in three meetings, it's tough to project based on the head to heads.  And with their teams rosters fluctuating so much during the season (Delaware's only due to their own stupidity, of course) the year long stats for both teams can just about be tossed too.  I picked DU for two reasons:  The Dragon players are smarter, and well, have you met me?  I can't pick UD over DU in the tourney.

In the case of W&M/ C of C, where both teams won their road games against each other, it's a bit of a mess.  Two things I know to be true:  W&M is going to be more smoked on the glass then grass is at Andre Nation's house Jimi Hendrix concerts, and C of C will cough up the ball like they've got swine flu.  I'm betting on a strange arena with an oddball shooting background (stage at one end?) and the usual conference tourney shooting woes making the rebounding the more important of the two.  Also of concern for W&M is Thornton's under-performance down the stretch with below average offensive games in five of his final six games, W&M went 3-3 in that stretch.  And hey, no one has ever lost money betting against W&M in a conference tournament.  Literally.  Ever.

(Ducks all of the perfectly nice W&M fans throwing rotten fruit and Bruiser's conference tourney records at me)

In playing Andre Nation-less JMU in the first round, Towson catches a break as they see what I believe to be the weakest team in the whole field in their first game.  Charleston is a good draw for them and a team that they have handled relatively easily in both meetings this year, their slow pace will also help Towson's lack of depth in back to back days.  If they get to the final, they'll have home court, and likely be going up against either Bru or Monte Ross.  So yeah, TU will be the pick for most people going into this one.

Funny, move the team out of Richmond and the home team still becomes the favorite.  It's like the anti-super bowl or something.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Northeastern - Learning From Our Mistakes?

Final:  Northeastern 54, Drexel 52
Player of the Game:  Chris Fouch
Key to the Game:  Melt down!
Next Game:  Saturday March 8, vs Northeastern - CAA Tournament, Baltimore Maryland

Missing two front ends of a one and one (the second of which maybe should have been shooting two), throwing an inbound to the other teams free safety, fouling on a 3, inbounding to half court with 5 seconds left and taking a 3 with 3 seconds left instead of getting to the basket?  All disasters.  Doing them all in under a minute?  Now you're special.  There's not a person from the top down who didn't play a piece in this meltdown it seems, and for those of us who have seen us before, but with different players, it's hard not to ask what the constant is over the years.  More on that in the offseason, but for now...

Talking about the coaching and/or dumb mistakes doesn't get us far.  And there's another side to the coin:  If there was a game to do this, now is the time.  They don't need to worry about trying to beat a team three times now, which is a heck of a challenge in college ball, the obscene amount of foul trouble gave all four bigs about 20 minutes, a good primer game before the tourney, the ghost of Freddy Wilson got some minutes, which is good coaching, and most importantly, it was a meaningless game for the Dragons.  It will setup a Co-op off in Baltimore, which I personally dislike since these are two of my favorite programs, but that's not a bad draw for the Dragons, who would probably rather see Northeastern than Charleston.

Walking into Matthews Arena, the Dragons objective was probably to get everyone some minutes, stay healthy, get Chris Fouch going and if they could, steal a win.  Looking at those objectives, this game ended pretty favorably for the Dragons.  They played nine deep, they walked away without assistance, and Fouch hit 5/13 (38.4%) from distance.  While we normally talk in this space of spreading the ball around, Northeastern is a unique matchup, being the rare CAA team with a very good frontcourt and no guards to be seen.  Northeastern spent the day going inside (27 of 51 shots from Eatherton, Spencer and Stahl) while the Dragons played their guards (36 of 57 shots from Chris and Frantz), both teams leaning on their strengths.

Two things did strike me from this one, that are important notes for next weekend.  First, who easily Drexel allows teams to dictate pace.  Much like Charleston, Northeastern wants to play slow, long possession basketball, which doesn't favor the Dragons nearly as much as it has in years past.  Just like Charleston, they allowed it.  Delaware likes playing up tempo, and against Delaware the Dragons played up tempo.  Based off of this, expect another first round rockfight in Baltimore as Flint & Co allow Coen and Co to do what they want to.  The second concern was a quote Alex Faust said on the NU broadcast from Bill Coen: "Drexel will take bad shots before they will pass the ball".  That's a hell of a quote to get from a coach, and quite an indictment on the Drexel offense.  Something to ponder for the week off.

In the end, Drexel did what they needed to do until the meltdown.  As a Drexel fan, you have to walk away feeling OK about that.  Northeastern won their final home game, and certainly feel good about that.  Let's call it a draw and head off to Baltimore.

The blog will have posts up daily all week, with tourney predictions along with a pregame for the Drexel game on Saturday.  That will also include a mailbag if you all want to offer up some questions or thoughts.  Submit questions or thoughts to or @DragonsSpeak on twitter.

Northeastern Pregame - The Final Countdown

Apologies (or perhaps you're welcome), this will be brief.

The Dragons and Huskies meet in their final regular season game of the year.  While the Dragons are locked into the 4 spot going into Baltimore, the Huskies are in a 3 way tie for 5th.  Neither team will drop into the 8-9 game so both coaches can be a little more loose going into a game that could be a preview for a first round match up in the CAA Tournament.  Northeastern will be paying tribute to redshirt senior Chris Avenant, the lone senior on the roster as their home season comes to a close.

If anyone has ever seen Bru dog a game, let me know.  I never have and expect to see a heavy dose of the starting five with a week off between this game and the upcoming tourney.  Having said that, giving Goran and Muhammed some court time couldn't hurt, especially Bah as he has continued his developmental surge throughout the season.  Giving Fouch some reps for distance might be nice, but Bru has spoken all year of how long Chris has spent in the trainers room, and healing up prior to the tournament may be just as if not more valuable than the reps he'll get in this game.

NU continues to be the Eatherton express, another reason to slide a space clogger like Goran into the game, although it would be a solid learning experience for a kid like Rodney.  Stop Eatherton, both with the ball in his hands and on the boards, and win the game.  It's that simple, especially with a Husky team that has been better on the road (4-5 in conference) then at home (2-6).  For both coaches, the mission will be more in the preparation than in the outcome, and a stress free trainers table will be the way to truly walk away from this one a winner.

Prediction:  Drexel 63, Northeastern 58
Vegas Line:  Drexel -1