University of Delaware alum Chris Christie spent the last eight years, and possibly his entire life, preparing to run for a job that he learned on Wednesday he wasn't going to get. He is certainly having the worst year of any Delaware related individual as of early 2016. Monte Ross, coach of the 5-18 (0-12) Blue Hens Men's Basketball team isn't having a great time either. And then there's Monte's agent, who is also Bruiser Flint's agent. Plenty of pain to go around.
If you feel like you need a shower after that opening paragraph, you know how it feels to root for the Dragons or Blue Hens this year. The teams are a combined 1-23 in conference. Drexel isn't just the worst shooting team in the conference, they're 347th of 351 teams in the country. But as Drexel fans, we know that. What is exciting is that Delaware is dead last in the conference in defense, and the number is so astronomically bad that they can't even claim they are only in last just because they haven't played Drexel yet. UD's conference play defensive efficiency number is 351st of 351 nationally. By a lot.
Most in the game will tell you that defense is mostly effort, and there's certainly an extent to which that can be believed. While many apologist will look towards Monte's mere 6 scholarship players and the injuries that have hit his team, it's hard to see a way in which any team is winless in this CAA. The players left on the floor for UD simply aren't putting in effort on the defensive end.
On offense, it's a bit of a different story. Kory Holden is trying to set a school record for shots taken, which is all the more impressive because Devon "Ballhog" Saddler played at Delaware and sometimes accidentally attended class there as well. Normally one player taking that many shots is a questionable strategy, but given what is around him, Kory's perma-green light is excusable. Kazmon Hayes has taken a step backwards in his junior season and his classmate Devonne Pinkard isn't CAA talent. On the inside, Marvin King-Davis is both still on the team and temporarily not suspended, giving UD a legitimate threat. He is joined by Maurice Jeffers who spends most games looking like he is trying to run in a 4 foot deep pool. Not a lot of motion in that ocean.
So in some ways, what we have on our hands is an exciting contest between two longtime rivals who will be more than excited to be seeing each other. Mohammed Bah and the Dragons should be able to get to the rim, while the best player on the court likely is bringing the ball up for the Blue Hen's. If Drexel wins, they will likely lock up not last place in the CAA, so they've got that going for them, which is nice.
Prediction: Pass. I won't pick UD to win their first game, and I won't pick a DU team that has yet to win outside of Philly this season.
Vegas Line: Delaware -2.5
Alan Boston's Take:
Wow. What can you write? Both teams have been tortured by injury. Both teams have coaches that would appear to be in trouble. I could never fire a coach who loses multiple players to injury, but big money makes the most honorable, evil. Both Bruiser and Monte have not done a great job, so their imminent departures are more deserving than most. However, if, for example, La Salle canned Giannini after this year, that would be undeserved.
Both Drexel and Delaware have put up little fight in the last couple of games. Delaware has played much of the year with 6 scholarship players. That is obviously catching up as they have offered little resistance in the last 2 games. Drexel similarly since jumping out 13-4 on JMU has not put up much of a fight. Who shows up? Delaware has not won a conference game. This may be their only shot. I do think they will be all in. Drexel has had flashes of being a good team. That is something, Delaware has not. So we have the better team on the road vs a desperate home team. If Drexel has not mailed it in, they should win both the rebounding battle and with it the game. I make this call with much ambivalence.
Drexel 72 Delaware 69