Friday, January 30, 2015

UNCW (home) - Pregame

Quick little statistical/gaming note,* when a home team wins by less than 3 and then has a road rematch later in the season, the opposing team wins the rematch upwards of 67% of the time.  Home court advantage is almost always considered to be 3 points or more, so by winning by less than 3 it is assumed that on a neutral court, the team that won by less than 3 is the weaker team.  In a road game situation the team that lost that first game actually becomes a heavy favorite for game two.

UNCW won the first matchup between these teams by 7.  If you move that 6 points for the swing from one home court to another, UNCW should then be about a point favorite at the DAC.  Simple math.  Except that it's wrong.  For a couple of reasons:

First, Rodney Williams has returned.  Was he rusty and seemingly ineffective last game?  Sure.  But his mere presence allowed Coach Flint to have the comfort to play 28 minutes of two forward basketball.  The first time that Drexel played UNCW, they played four guard for 36 minutes of the game and two forward for just 4 minutes.  That led to UNCW hitting 61% of two point shots, totally 30 points in the paint against the Dragons.  That ain't happening this time.

Second, while UNCW is straight fire right now, winning 7 of their last 8, including impressive road wins against Hofstra and Northeastern, they are no longer running like wildfire.  Specifically, after playing 7 of their first 11 games with 70+ possessions, they haven't played that way once since the new year.  It appears that Kevin Keatts is slowing things down as a way of helping out his slightly overwhelmed freshman point guard, Jordon Talley.  This game should be a 60 possession or so CAA rockfight, and it's clear that those are the games that Bruiser & Co prefers to play in.

Add these together, along with the emergence of one Tyshawn Myles, and suddenly UNCW shouldn't be a one point favorite anymore, should they?  What, you haven't heard about Tyshawn Myles yet?  Well lets help some CAA coaches urinate in their finely tailored pants:

It's a razor small sample for Myles, but look!  Look!  Get excited!  Freshman Tyshawn is outrebounding Sophomore Samme Givens!  He has a turnover rate 25% lower than the next best current DU big man.  The foul shooting is an issue, sure, but this is the guy.  He's positioning himself well, never getting over the backs called on him, and buying the Dragons extra possession after extra possession.  He only played 5 minutes the first time these teams squared off.  That ain't happening this time either.

Prediction:  Drexel 62 - UNCW 56
Vegas Line:  UNCW -1.5

*This should be foot noted but the book I am referring to is packed right now in preposition of a move tomorrow.  If anyone knows the study so I can give credit more quickly, please send an email to  

Alan Boston's Notes:  The surprise of the CAA, UNCW, arrives in Philly, winners of 7 in a row. Their first year coach Kevin Keatts is a former assistant to Rick Pitino, a coach I do not hold in high regard, so I am surprised by their success.  I thought they might struggle in rematches as teams are more acclimated to their pressing style, but in their loan rematch. they beat Hofstra, a team they blew a lead to in their first battle. Still, I think teams will do better 2nd time vs UNCW. 
In their first game, UNCW+Drexel played a close game that UNCW won 64-57. However that was Drexel, sans Williams. Drexel played their best half of basketball this year, in the comeback win over Northeastern. With Williams return, Bruiser should get rid of the ridiculous 4 guard offense. 4 guard offenses are effective because  speed can trump power. I have no doubt that 4, maybe even 5 guard offenses will become common. However, Bruiser does not play fast well, so the 4 guard look has been an unmitigated disaster. Even though 4 guards makes sense vs pressing Wilmington, Bruiser needs to be rid of it completely. If he does, with Willliams more comfortable his 2nd game back, I expect Drexel to build on the excellent 2nd half vs Northeastern. They are certainly good enough now to handle upstart UNCW.

Drexel 65 UNCW 55

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