Drexel vs SUCKS – “Battle for the Basement”
Delaware (7-20, 2-14 CAA) Kenpom: 260
Drexel (4-23, 2-14 CAA) Kenpom: 251
One of the things that makes college basketball so great is that every school, big or small, always has that one team on the schedule that even if you lost every other game, you take pride in beating. It's the rival. For Drexel, that team is Delaware. It is Drexel's longest running series against any opponent, dating back to 1911, and Delaware currently leads the series 79-74. Drexel vs Delaware has always been a circled game on the schedule, even in the roughest years. Even though most of their fans are in bed by gametime, there is a certain satisfaction about beating UD. In some years, perhaps this one, this game may be the only one to look forward to on the schedule. Three years ago, a group of Drexel juniors took a road trip to watch Drexel play Delaware at the Bob Carpenter Center. Drexel was winding down a rough season that saw incredible promise early on in the preseason NIT only to see their star player gone for the season, which then sent the team into a spiral leading to another first round exit in the conference tournament. Delaware was celebrating senior night and looking to maintain their first place seeding in the conference, but Drexel would play spoiler to that and pulled off the upset.
|Walking out of UD, representing the winning team|
This year, Drexel has once again played spoiler to a top of the conference team on their senior night, taking down William and Mary on Saturday. However, this Thursday's Drexel/Delaware matchup does not have the prestige of years past. Both Drexel and Delaware have had very disappointing seasons, with both coaches wondering about their job security, just trying to get their teams to play with intensity and finish the season with high effort plays.
In the game against William and Mary, Drexel won by being smart with the ball, limiting turnovers, making sure that Rodney Williams gets touches inside, and the continued improvement of Terrell Allen. Terrell has shown flashes of brilliance this season, and it was even mentioned to this writer that he was pulling off some “Steph Curry” moves. Even with Rodney and Terrell's stellar performances, the team shot only 35.7% inside the arc, something that needs to change going forward, whether it be more ball movement, better shot selection, or greater offensive variety, they cannot expect to win with those kind of numbers.
While Drexel's issues have been well documented on this blog, Delaware is dealing with a slew of issues on their end. Their rotation has shrunk to mainly 6 players due to injuries, and they have struggled finding their rhythm offensively and defensively this season. Kory Holden has been one of the few bright spots on the team, and is the main offensive threat for the Blue Hens. He is shooting 39% from 3 on the season, good for 325th nationally, as well as shooting 81% from the line. Marvin King-Davis is the main interior presence, and is nationally ranked in both offensive and defensive rebounding, which means the Drexel forwards will have their hands full trying to keep their position on the boards. Poor shooting can be overcome by decisively winning the rebounding battle, so I see this game coming down to the wire and the winner being decided by simply who wants it more.
Drexel 64 – Delaware 60
Vegas Line: Drexel -3.5
Alan Boston's Take:
Delaware showed some life late in the year. After their win over Drexel they beat College of Charleston and took Hofstra to the wire. In their last they ran into an angry James Madison crew. The blow out was expected. Credit must be given to the Hens as they have suffered numerous injuries, have played short handed for quite some time and yet when you would expect them to have had enough, late in the too long hoops season, they play their best ball.
What can you say about Drexel? The team that has shown flashes of brilliance, put together enough good to win at William & Mary. It makes absolutely no sense to this writer. When I first saw the score I thought rampant drug use had finally caught up with me, but later, I saw it official. How does Drexel follow that up? I thought Drexel would handle Delaware the first time. With the players available, they are the better team. With this Drexel team. better does not matter. However, it is entirely up to them. If Drexel plays with a modicum of intelligence - and they can - they win. It really is that simple. Does the William and Mary game encourage more good or do they get complacent and play with enough stupidity to lose a game that they should not. There are at least 3 games left for Coach Flint. They should send him out a winner. Bruiser for sure, deserves that.
Drexel 69 Delaware 59