But there are reasons for optimism, no matter how much of a reach they may seem. Hofstra took a significant blow this week with Senior Forward and sixth man Malik Nichols ending his season with a knee injury. What was already a short seven man rotation on a run and gun team is even shorter. Hofstra is now a six man team with only two forwards, likely All-CAA team member Rokas Gustys and senior transfer from Princeton, Denton Koons. That's about as thin a front line as anyone will find anywhere.
The downside of that is that the Dutchmen will be going four guard for most of the game, and when Koon is in and Gustys is grabbing a blow, they will have five deep threats on the court at once. This against a Drexel team that hasn't been able to guard a single big man at the three point stripe yet. The image of both Rodney and Kaz out defending the perimeter simultaneously, leaving a vacuum underneath, is the stuff nightmares are made of for Drexel fans and coaches alike. But outside of not being able to defend the paint or the perimeter things don't seem so ba... no, wait, outside and inside are all of the things. The Dragons seem unlikely to be able to defend anything while Hofstra brings one of the conferences most efficient offenses to town. In case that didn't sound great, HU is also second in the CAA in rebounding percentage, behind Towson, the nightmare of which DU just lived out in real time.
The other "reason for optimism" is scheduling. The six man Hofstra team just went to the wire with Elon in a fast paced contest. Having to play on the road two days later is the cruelty of the CAA Thursday/Saturday schedule. Drexel will reap the benefit of Joe Mihalich's teams tired legs as well as a bit of a trap game situation. Hofstra has won three in a row going into this contest with the Dragons and is awaiting a first place showdown with UNCW in their next game. It's a look ahead situation for the Dutchmen, and they're going to a homecoming game against a team that should be, at some point, getting angry, some signs of which we saw when freshman standout Terrell Allen tossed a ball off of a backboard in the first half of yesterday's game.
This is about as tough a game to call as its going to get. It's a terrible spot for Hofstra, but Hofstra is the toughest matchup in terms of style in the conference for these Dragons. This blog has never shied away from statistics and analysis, but given the spot, and a fresh guard potentially returning to the rotation for the Dragons, lets take one last shot,
Prediction: Drexel 72 - Hofstra 70
Vegas Line: TBA
Alan Boston's Take:
Sometimes, you expect things to happen. Time after time, they do not. Sometimes, you just have to admit you are wrong. The cliche says, "go to the well too often". My bankroll says, please stop thinking Drexel will win a basketball game. Ambivalence can be painful. Yes, I believe Drexel will win. When you watch their games or read their game stories, it is easy to believe that day will come. However, unless one can afford an endless supply of opiates, one must deal with reality. Drexel will win a basketball game. Perhaps that is true. Logically it makes sense. Then the last 5 minutes of the game gets played. Drexel loses. Deja vu. Here comes Hofstra, fresh off losing their 6th man for the year and fresh off a very tough win over Elon. Hofstra also will be playing after traveling on short rest. Certainly Drexel can close the deal this time. Logic and Drexel basketball are not a good match. If there was ever a game that Drexel could pull off an upset, it is this Saturday. When they played at Hofstra, Drexel took them to the wire. Logically, with a healthier Drexel team and Hofstra a man down, the Dragons will pull the upset. As previously stated, when it comes to Drexel basketball, one must eschew logic. Drexel finally shot the ball well vs Towson, yet still managed to blow a lead. I love to think logically. I have made a career of it. Sometimes one must ignore what logically should work.
Hofstra 78 Drexel 45