When last the Sons of Flint won a game, it was opposite the College of Charleston a mere 28 days ago, which wouldn't be very long at all if we were talking about a football team, who maybe had a bye week in there somewhere. This is college basketball though, and the seven game losing streak that followed the Charleston game may have long lasting implications both to the Drexel fanbase and the larger community. All that is for another discussion, the question in front of us today is can the Cougars be the magical and very temporary elixir that the Dragons need to win another game and break their losing streak. The numbers look promising.
The truest indicator of how a game will be played in college basketball is looking at the last time the teams played each other in the same season. It's known that certain numbers are known to extreme fluctuation, say three point shooting percentage. Other numbers are likely to stay more consistent, like rebounding advantages or turnovers. When looking at the first game between these teams, we see a game that Drexel won despite being just 1-6 from three, a number that is likely to have positive regression to the mean in this contest. On the other hand, the usually poor shooting Cougars went 7-15 from downtown, a number likely to regress downward. That combines to look very promising for a Dragons team that won the first game despite, and not becuase, of those shooting numbers.
The other thing to pickup from the box score is the rebounding edge. Drexel grabbed 36% of their offensive misses, slightly better than Charleston's 33%, but the indicator moves beyond that. Remember the Dragons three point shooting numbers? They only took 6 attempts, their least number of attempts in a game this season. Meanwhile the Dragon forwards scored 29 of the teams 61 points, one of their higher percentages of team scoring all year. Drexel was able to get the ball inside, was able to rebound at a much higher clip than their 29.2% season offensive rebounding total... All this adds to the Dragon upperclassman forwards having a dominant performance against the youth of Charleston's Jerrell Brantley and Payton Hulsey.
Maybe College of Charleston coach Earl Grant will pull a page from Matt Brady's playbook and doubleteam the Dragon forwards this game. If he doesn't, Charleston's slow, methodical pace (340th in the country in Tempo) plays right into the Dragons hands. If the Dragons can maintain their discipline and keep feeding their bigs, similar to what they did against Hofstra, this game should be theirs to lose. However, the Dragons haven't won a game outside of city limits yet this year and are playing a roadie with a single days rest. Knowing that, it's tough to expect a win.
Prediction: Charleston 59, Drexel 57
Vegas Line: Charleston -7.5
Alan Boston's Take:
Ugh. Drexel tricked us, well not everyone. They jumped out to a 13-4 lead vs James Madison. However this time, they did not wait until late in the game to piss away the lead. By half time, it was all but over. Now they must go on short rest to beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. I hope they enjoy the city. I doubt the hosts will be very hospitable. Since Drexel somehow won the first match up, it is likely that C of C will not take them lightly, which is likely Drexel's only chance. When Canyon Barry was lost for the year, it looked as if C of Cs season went with him. However, on Thursday, they found their scorer. Future star, possibly even present star Marquis Pointer had a huge game Thursday night vs Towson. His shots finally fell. He is the real deal. C of C likes to get out and run. They also run good half court offense, but they like the open floor better now, so Drexel had better remember their roots and try to get the game in the half court. James Madison basically denied everything inside. They let Drexel have open looks from the outside. Drexel did not make them. So the blueprint is in place. I think Drexel's back has been broken. They have played shorthanded the entire year. They lost too many late leads. Last night's early lead disappeared very quickly. Against a focused C of C squad, who has found a new star, I doubt they will lead once. Disaster likely.
C of C 90 Drexel 58