With the elimination of James Madison, the Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Tournament takes on an entirely new look. The tourney structure could play a major role in today’s game between Drexel and Elon.
Last year, Elon looked like a team on the rise. With some terrific young talent and perhaps even a better coach, they showed flashes of a championship team. In only his second year, Mike Schrage appeared to have a program that would contend for the title in the very near future. However, injuries and lack of improvement from the younger players have stalled the programs rise. I still love this coach. I expect they will right the ship sooner rather than later.
Drexel got their so called revenge at William and Mary. They are all but locked into one of the middle seeds. They continue to surprise this writer with a high level of play. I have found that most often the reason for a team’s rise is not a big-time scorer, but a big-time rim protector. The massive improvement of Amari Williams has given Drexel just that. Obviously, that allows the guards to pressure a bit more as there is always someone available as a sort of last line of defense. It allows teams to better take away the three-point line. As teams get better at taking three-point shots away, you will see basketball cycle back to more two pointers taken as a reaction to taking away the three.
After Elon, Drexel returns home for the final two. They can’t do much to improve their seeding. Nonetheless, they, no doubt, will give effort. However, there is a slight chance that they feel like the William and Mary game was mission accomplished. This so called “lame duck” game may be subconsciously overlooked. Elon, on the other hand is trying to stay out of the play in game. This game is of massive importance to them, especially after making the title game and having to play four times in last years tournament. They have flashed brilliance at times, beating both UNCW and JMU at home. They are coming off an embarrassing loss to Hofstra. They will be all in for this one.
Drexel destroyed Elon 77-49 in the first meeting. I expect Elon to turn the tables this time
Elon 74 Drexel 69