It was Sir Walter Scott, who wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we lead . . . ” I could not think of better words to describe the battle to avoid the play in round. There is one spot. Drexel, Towson and JMU are fighting for it. To be succinct. It would help if Drexel wins today.
These two teams opened conference play in Boston on Dec 28th. Northeastern led most of the way. They could never deliver a knockout. The score was 93-83. Drexel fans were encouraged. Obviously, much has changed since. For one example, Drexel is beat to hell.
They are not alone in that though. I do not believe Northeastern has played a game this year with all hands on deck. With apologies to Tony Shaver, Northeastern has the best coach in the Colonial. Coen is brilliant. He adapts to the players he has to maximize talent. His teams run very good offense. They do not take bad shots. They are excellent at defending the 3 point line. If he were to ever land a job at a power school, they would be in the top 10. Luckily for the Colonial, that will not happen.
Northeastern is locked in as the 2 seed. This game means nothing. In the old days, coaches often played starters fewer minutes. They experimented with different schemes. However, in today’s world, that does not happen. Northeastern will be all in. It is stupid as why risk anything in a game that is meaningless? I can not answer.
In their last game, Northeastern pulled away from Delaware in the second half and won 75-64. They have won eight of their last nine. They have done so in spite of a myriad of injuries. They are deep. They are very good. Starter Shawn Occeus and spot starter Thomas Murphy, who was coming off his best game of the year, did not play versus Delaware. I would expect both to be out today.
It is too small a sample, but Drexel has put forth two of their best efforts without Troy Harper. As mentioned in the last write up, that is not at all unusual. Freshman Matey Juric played well in his new starting role. Drexel also got good minutes from fellow freshman Coletrane Washington and redshirt freshman Tim Perry Jr. The Dragon’s defense was much better sans Harper. Their shot selection was better. I think the addition by subtraction applies. Today will be the big test.
Cam Wynter played 40 minutes on Thursday. There is nowhere else to turn. The kid is having an unbelievable year. With everyone knowing their roles, they are a better team. They are running stuff to free up ultra efficient Trevor John. The question is, can this shorthanded bunch with a freshman point guard that has played too many minutes, find the energy to play the full forty minutes today? If so, they have an excellent chance to avoid the play in round. Northeastern is down two key members. They are locked into the two seed. Subconsciously, this is not the easiest spot for them. Unfortunately, for Drexel Northeastern is a team that gives nothing away.
Drexel will not have many easy three point shots available. However, the new look Dragons have been quite impressive. After an embarrassing road trip, they returned without Harper and several others who have fallen as the year has passed and ran out to a 15 point lead on Delaware. They then took top dog Hofstra, who was trying to clinch the title, to the wire. They are catching a Northeastern team just right, two men down in a meaningless game. If Drexel has the energy to repeat the last two efforts, the upset is more than possible.
So why not?
Drexel 69 Northeastern 67