Joe Golding has done an excellent job at Abilene Christian, culminating in winning the Southland Conference tournament and having the privilege to lose to Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season. Now in his seventh year, Abilene’s rating has improved every year under Golding. That is by my power ratings, not Kenpom (note: They’ve also moved up every season on Kenpom).
Sorry world. This year will be difficult. Golding has only one starter returning. His point guard will be sophomore w Damien Daniels who did an admirable job in their lone game, albeit it was a 90-39 win over Arlington Baptist. The sophomore is well regarded and like most Golding players, defends with fervor. He led the Southland in assist ratio last year.
The lone starting returnee is seven footer, Hayden Koval, who came into his own last year. If the junior continues to improve, he will have a pro career for sure, perhaps even the NBA. The rest are unproven as starters, but Golding is excellent and I would not be surprised if the team is a bit better than rated.
I was impressed with Drexel’s effort vs Temple, but their struggle to get away from Niagara was a big surprise to this writer. Drexel is still a young team. They are also breaking in two freshman so it will likely take time to see the best finished product, which should be the best by far that Spiker has put out there. It seems as though the staff is taking some early games to test some players out and see who is going to get minutes later in the year. I hope to Spiker play dual point guards, but the only thing that seems clear at the moment is that the testing will be ongoing until one of Lee, Walton or Washington separate themselves from the others. I also don’t expect to see Tim Perry Jr play today, although he should hopefully be back soon, and will be a difference maker when he is.
Abilene Christian makes the long travel to Philly with many questions and only one returning starter. Drexel figures to be way ahead of the game at this point and should not have much trouble here.
Drexel 78 Abilene Christian 65