Wrapping up the discussion of the Alabama game and the PNIT in general, a few thoughts on each side of the ledger:
PRO: This team hasn’t played its best basketball yet. Chris Fouch won’t finish the season shooting 27% from three point range. Tavon Allen probably isn’t a 25% guy either as shown by shooting 36% from deep last year. Frantz may regress a bit from 38% but that number certainly isn’t crazy for him. The effective field goal percentage for the team is 273rd in basketball, and even without Lee they shouldn’t be that bad. Part of this is starting cold, part of it is not playing in the DAC yet, part of it might be bad luck. Outside of Tavon Allen, and an occasional choice/floater from Fouch or Massenat, the shots taken have been overwhelmingly good shots and more will fall going forward. The team that beat Bama and rolled with Zona? Is better than what they showed.
CON: Gotta finish. At a point in regulation of the Arizona game, Pomeroy had the Dragons as 84% likely to win. In regulation of the Bama game it was 84%. In the first OT it was 93%. In the second OT it was 94%. All of those leads were blown. Calculated out, teams with the leads the Dragons were given would blow the games .01% of the time. Drexel came within a foul shot of doing it. Allen took silly shots, Fouch shot too early, and the inbounding plays continued to cost the team valuable possessions. For a guy that values possessions as much as Flint does, it’s amazing that he can throw out an inbounds play that Bobby Knight can call out as terrible before it is even run (and resulted in a turnover). Running the point guard at the inbounder after every made basket might need a wrinkle thrown in as well. It’s not like anyone is saying that these will cost the Dragons someday – they’ve cost them for years.
PRO: Going into the season there were significant concerns about the Dragons interior game. Arizona and Alabama will both end the season as elite rebounding teams. Drexel was beat on the boards against the Wildcats but by no means destroyed. That’s hard to read since two more rebounds could have meant a different outcome, but given how good that frontcourt for Zona is, and going into the game without Abif, the frontcourt should be very proud of what they did. On Friday, they broke even with Alabama on the boards, which really attests to the fact that the Dragons may be very legitimate in this department. Kazembe Abif’s numbers really make it look like he’s doing his best Samme Givens impression, killing it on the offensive glass and breathing new life into Drexel possessions. This is an unexpected and outstanding surprise.
CON: There was significant improvement in the Alabama game, but the team still needs to do a better job of using the new rules to their advantage. Getting to the line continues to be important, as the war of attrition showed on Friday. After starting the game feeding the post, Drexel once again forgot about it. And it had been successful! In the first two possessions of the game, Ruffin was fed, got to the line once and hit a bucket with the other. For the entire rest of the game, he had three shots, and two of those three were putbacks. C’mon man.
PRO: When a teams shooting isn’t there, they better be able to rebound and take care of the ball. Having only 14 turnovers (at least two that I can think off the top of my head were on inbounds plays) in 55 minutes against an Anthony Grant team is pretty damned fine work. Per Pomeroy, Drexel has played the 17th hardest schedule in the country and they are 18th in the country in not turning over the ball. They’ve taken care of the rock against very good opponents, and should be considered an elite ballhandling team.
It’s a great time to be a Drexel fan, and optimism should be at a high. It’s hard to beat a team when they are an elite ballhandling team and can rebound with the best the country has to offer and that’s what the Dragons are right now.
The blog wishes Damion Lee best of luck with the MRI today. Regardless of the outcome, Damion will be back sometime, and we’ll all remember just why he’s such a favorite on campus. Great kid with great talent is an awesome combination to root for.
Lastly, DAC Pack, coming out of Alabama and Arizona, there are many who will consider this Wednesday’s game a letdown spot for the Dragons. It’s your job to make this home opener so loud, showing how proud this teams six game road trip performance made the campus that there’s no chance the guys aren’t amped up. Pomeroy shows Cleveland State as a very respectable team and if the Dragons are going to be taken seriously, they can’t lie down for CSU.
Look forward to seeing everyone Pack the DAC on Wednesday. Happy Home Opener!