Thursday, January 8, 2015

Towson - Pregame - Now With Bad Words

The Dragons travel to Bill Bateman's The Towson Center SECU Arena, on the campus of Towson University on Thursday to take on a team that is struggling almost as much as the Dragons are.  Prior to their win against Elon the Tigers had lost 6 straight games with the most recent of those against Navy, Fairleigh Dickenson and James Madison, all struggling teams themselves.  Not unlike the DAC, the SECU Center is where struggling teams went to get better.  And while Towson seems to have turned a corner by beating Elon, lets remember that Elon was playing their second road game in two days, shot only 19% from 3 this time, and TU still only won by 4.  A year after starting 4 seniors, the Tigers are a young team that is looking to come together.  Sound like anyone else we know?

While these teams may end up similar places in the standings, they will get there through completely different routes.  While the Dragons have being playing with 4 guards, working on ball control and launching up threes, the Tigers are somewhat astoundingly pounding the paint.  A slow and methodical drive and pound the ball offense has led Pat Skerry's bunch to be the #6 offensive rebounding team in the country while being #1 overall nationally at getting to the line.  In short, they are the mirror opposite of the last three Drexel opponents which just has to be good news for the Dragons.  

And while fans can flip through box scores and see that John Davis is outperforming his role as a sophomore, or that Four McGlynn is being his usual sharp shooting self, this might not be the game for that kind of inside baseball stat hunting.  On Towson's side, it's an opportunity to put back to back wins together, move to 2-1 in conference and gain some confidence before running into the contending teams in the CAA.  They can be satisfied with the win against Elon, or they can show to be confident and hungry for more.  On the Drexel side, it's an even larger opportunity.  It's a chance to show that getting blown out in three straight games at home wasn't as much about lack of talent or problems with this team, but rather it was just a poor matchup against three opponents who play similar perimeter/run and gun styles.

For his part, Bruiser has two options, the Dragons can stagger forward with the 4 guard set, which against Towson will amount to watching the Tigers shoot the ball, if they miss then watching them rebound the ball, and repeating that until Towson scores, at which point the Dragons can run down take one shot and hope it goes in.  Alternatively, Bru can go back to what he knows.  Full on rock fight, slow paced game with shot clock violations from both sides and the paint looking like a scene from Die Hard.  Given those choices, there's only one choice.

Yippee ki yay motherfucker.

Prediction:  Towson 57 - Drexel 56
Vegas Line:  Towson -4.5

Fact of the day:  If the Dragons lose this game, they will drop behind the Sixers in winning percentage. (hat tip, Eric Resnick)

Alan Boston's Notes:  Towson University got behind Pat Skerry. They promised him as much time as he needed to build a program. They built a new arena and new facilities. They are trying to get a piece of the rather large tv pie, that has ruined the game of college basketball. They were almost rewarded last year, as Towson fielded their best team in a very long time. It did not hurt that they got Georgetown transfer Jerrelle Benimon to finish his college career there. He was almost unstoppable, a great college player. He is gone. However Towson had gone from one win in Skerry's first season to a semi final loss in the CAA tournament, eventually accepting a CIT bid. The reward is they now get better recruits. Towson has a young team. They have shown flashes of brilliance, winning all 3 games , including a win over host Monmouth in one of those ridiculous round robin tournaments that allows teams to play more games than the legal limit. It is just another crack in the once solid armor of college hoops. The ivy league is all that is left. They still play Saturdays to allow for the least loss of class time. They still do not allow athletic scholarships. However, since Tommy Amaker brought his Duke recruiting tactics to Cambridge, even the ivies are showing signs of caving in. That is extremely sad.

So here is a team that you would think Drexel can beat. Much like Drexel, Towson is a  young rebuilding program that has had some good and some bad (blowout loss at home to Lasalle, home loss to FDU). But after Drexel's last 3 home games and after listening to Bruiser give some horse shit excuse, "we only have 8 players and 4 are freshman", I would not count on them to beat Philadelphia University Of Sciences.

Towson 80 Drexel 48 

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