I would like to thank the trio at Three Man Weave for enlightening me about Kofi Cockburn’s added value to Illinois on the pick and roll. For those that are interested, their previews are far more in depth, than mine, and this one can be found at: https://www.three-man-weave.com/3mw/midwest-region-preview-2021.
What can one write? There is not much to say here. This is a strong year for the low seeds (14/15/16). Drexel fans may be unhappy but this is the seed they deserve. Loyola Chicago fans should be furious. Drexel fans, no.
Drexel rode a surprising wave of red hot three-point shooting to win the Colonial and grab the automatic bid. Conference tournament week, they were clearly best. Their opposition is about to get better.
Illinois lost stud Ayo Dosunmu for three games. The results, a win at home against hapless Nebraska, then check this out: wins on the road versus a desperate Wisconsin team, and then over fellow one seed, Michigan. Ayo returned in time to complete the ridiculous road trifecta, winning at Ohio State.
Easy wins over Rutgers and Iowa were followed by an overtime win over Ohio State, a game they initially led 27-10. The array of high level talent and terrific coaching has finally flourished together. The Illini are a legitimate number one seed.
What can Drexel do to stop the onslaught? I hate to be The Grinch, but likely nothing. The best strategy would be to put something brand new in, maybe junk the defense up with maybe a triangle and two, try and stop Illinois’ array of athletic guards. Unfortunately, there is the rather large issue of seven foot, 290 pound Kofi Cockburn to contend with. He is an unmovable force and excellent in the pick and roll. On offense Drexel should try and shorten the game by milking the clock. Again, there is a minor or likely major problem with that: Brad Underwood can crank up the pressure. With Cockburn anchoring the rear, the guards can overplay and extend with alacrity.
Drexel will need a very bad outing by Illinois. They will also need to hit an inordinate number of threes to have any chance. To be succinct, Drexel is in deep shit.
Illinois 90 Drexel 58