Saturday, January 24, 2015

College of Charleston - Pregame

When the calendar mercifully flips to February, there will be a new goal in the Drexel Men's Basketball team offices, and it will be to avoid pillowfight Friday in Baltimore.  As such, Saturday's high noon affair against the College of Charleston suddenly matters very much more than it appears to.  There certainly seems to be a top 5 and bottom 5 in the league right now, and only one of those bottom 5 will have the night off when the CAA Tournament begins.  A chance to beat one of those other bottom 5 teams is a luxury that no one at Drexel should take lightly.

The matchup of this game couldn't be better for the Dragons.  Coming off of a humiliating defeat in which Bruiser said his players did not show up, Drexel will come out strong against a Charleston team that plays a style the Dragons enjoy.  It's a rockfight, play your forwards, take it slow and throw some elbows type of game.  Add to that the fact that the Cougars are coming off of an OT affair on Wednesday, and you have a big game that is ripe for the Dragons to take.

On Charleston, the players to watch are Adjehi Baru, Joe Chealey and Canyon Barry.  Baru is a solid senior big man who is suffering from a bit of Mohamed Bah-itis.  As the only big man who is a threat on Charleston, every player on the opposing team is looking to box him out and it's really chipped into his rebounding numbers.  Despite the lack of any other forwards of note on the team, Baru continues to show skill and will still put points on the board for the Cougars.

Joe Chealey has done what you ask a point guard to do.  He took an "eh" freshman year and significantly progressed as he has taken over the full time floor general rule.  He's a better shooter this year, his assist rate is up, and turnover rate is down.  In his last three games Chealey has averaged 16 points and 5 assists, so Rashann London, already heavily criticized by Coach Flint for his defense, will have his hands full.

The last of the bunch, Canyon Barry joins Four McGlynn, Kyle Anderson and Elijah Bryant as CAA guards who are being asked to do way too much by their coaches.  None of those guys are ready/have the skillset for the roles that they have been given.  In the case of Canyon Barry, he is a shot up shooter who is being asked to be a scorer/slasher.  When Barry spots up, he is trouble.  When he is off the dribble, let him dribble.  That simple.  And that goes for most of this C of C team.  Take away Baru inside and Charleston only has the three to survive on.  Yet even that three ball hasn't been enough.  The College has hit 40% or better from three in 5 of their 7 CAA games, yet only one won.  That's because hidden in very slow, low possession, low scoring games is the worst defense in the conference.  The scores look low, only two opponents have broken 70 points against the Cougars, but when you play 55ish possession games, that's simply not an accomplishment.  The more relevant statistic is that 6 of their 7 opponents have scored 60+ against them.

Charleston can't stop teams, can't rebound, only has one seasoned and skilled big man and is asking young guards to carry the weight.  What does that sound like to you?

First to 50 wins.

Prediction:  Drexel 58 - Charleston 48
Vegas Line:  Charleston -1

Alan Boston's Notes:  College of Charleston is a very strong program. Since Kresses retirement, they have not been as consistent. They have a new coach this year, who I think will be an excellent hire.  Earl Grant was hired late in the process, so this year has been a struggle. He was an assistant to Greg Marshall, certainly one of the top 3 coaches in the country, so I have no doubt that this program will return to its strong mid major ways. The team has played better lately. Interestingly the improvement has come with an injury to Stitt, who figured to be an key player on this team. However, this is a terrific spot for Drexel. College of Charleston put out a huge effort in overtime loss to UNCW. With Stitt out, they are relying on just one point guard, who played 43 minutes and got worn down late, by the Seahawks incessant press. Down one,Chealey went in for a layup in the last seconds in overtime and the shot got blocked and unluckily went off Charleston with one second to go. Coach blamed fatigue for kids not making better decisions down the stretch. But this is Drexel, 2015. Good spot or not, they can find ways to screw up, that quite frankly, to this casual observer, are almost not believable. Drexel should be super focused off of yet another embarrassing performance at Hofstra. They should beat C of C, who may not have their A game. They are a tough team to trust. Still, this is too good a spot to pass up, 

Drexel 55 C of C 49

1 comment:

  1. It should be noted that Dan and Boston write their paragraphs individually, not one word of what will be put on paper.