Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hofstra University - Pregame

What we have here is a problem.

Hofstra is the worst matchup in the conference for our Dragons.  They run uptempo, they don't turn the ball over (the whole team seems to be expert on basketball transfers), and they shoot particularly well.  The Flying Dutchmen may be the only team in the conference that is strong at the point guard spot as Juan'ya Green has been a nationally elite caliber distributor, and he is flanked by Ameen Tanksley and Brian Bernardi who are both shooting better than 45% from 3.  Remember the 13 points and 8 assists that Dion Naismith had against the Dragons in Hempstead last year?  Yeah, he's a sixth man now.  And coming off of back to back losses, these guys will be coming into this matchup with the Dragons as an angry bunch.

Basketball games are won in one of two ways, either you outshoot your opponent, or you shoot a lot more attempts than your opponent.  Hofstra is going to outshoot the Dragons.  If they also win the turnover battle (which is expected), then the only way for the Dragons to get more shots than the Dutch is to absolutely dominate the boards.  In the past four games, we've seen UNCW and College of Charelston, both big underdogs, hit the boards hard against Hofstra.  UNCW won outright and Charleston was leading with 5 minutes to play.  Northeastern was the outlier, getting creamed on the boards, but scraping by against Hofstra by shooting a ridiculous 68% from inside the arc and 50% from downtown.  

Similar to the James Madison game, there are two ways* that the Drexel coaching staff can play this, and we should know the outcome of this game in the first five minutes if they play it wrong.  They can try to run and follow the Northeastern plan, trying to outplay Hofstra at their own game,  Bru has already said his team is the worst shooting team in the conference though, so that just doesn't seem like the smart play.  Alternatively, they can ask Mohamed Bah, Austin Williams and Tyshawn Myles to go and win them a ballgame.  They won't get passed the ball, but their impact will be felt on every possession.  At the same time, tell Damion Lee that he needs to rebound like he was still playing the 4 while he plays on the wing.  

Don't make this game about shooting, make this game about number of shots.  Hofstra wants to live and die by the three, so never give them a second life.  They want to run, make it a rockfight.  In short, bring on the pain in the paint.  Do that, or play their game and just get creamed.  Those are the choices available to the coaching staff, we'll see what they choose at 7pm tonight.  Any guesses?  Here's mine.

Prediction:  Hofstra 76, Drexel 52
Vegas Line:  Hofstra -12

*Third Option:  Deflate the Ball

Alan Boston's Notes:  It is hard to knock Joe Mihalich.  He always had good teams at Niagara. He always recruited good players for the so called mid major levels. His first year at Hofstra was expected to be rough. For his 2nd year, he has 8 new players, however 4 of them practiced with the team last year. Two, Juan'ya Green and Ameen Tanksley, played for Mihalich at Niagara. The talent has been upgraded immensely. Mihalich's team always play fast. Half court sets are not the norm. In many cases, that style can lead to a helter skelter team, that takes many bad shots. That is not the case with Mihalich. They are one of the top 3 teams in the league. They will not be in a good mood when Drexel comes to town. They went to Northeastern and lost 91-83 and followed that up by losing at home to UNCW, who got back at them for blowing the previous battle at Wilmington. Do not know what Drexel can do to hang with this team. Actually, I do know, but that will not happen. What will happen, will not be pleasant for Drexel rooters.

Hofstra 82 Drexel 43

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