Northeastern comes to Philly at 7-2 and in first place in the Colonial. Their last game was probably their most impressive. Northeastern led the entire way to avenge a prior home loss and beat Hofstra 81-67. Bill Coen is one of the better coaches in Division I. When you watch, it is obvious that the players buy in to the team approach. No surprise, Northeastern had 5 players score in double figures in the win at Hofstra. Joe Mihalich noted that you will pay for any defensive mistake you make vs Northeastern. For a Drexel team that is not the most fundamentally sound, that is a scary statement.
When they played on Thursday night, Drexel finally made some shots. They were down 5 with less than 4 to go versus a good Elon team that was also in need of a win. Tremaine Isabell then went on a personal 10-0 run as part of his career high 40 point outing. Drexel needed every one of his points to get a win they desperately needed. How Drexel reacts to their big win, will likely determine whether they can avoid the dreaded play in game.
In the second half of the Elon game, Drexel played one of their best halves this season. They have finally had a relatively healthy roster for several games. However, the team remains far from perfect. Their defense is still shaky. It is also easier to play well when trailing in a game. Playing with a lead and continuing to extend is the much more challenging task. But they did play well from behind in the Elon contest, and have done that multiple times this year.
As noted Northeastern gives away spit. They force teams to go out and earn it when they play the Huskies. However, NU is coming off their best performance of the year, a game they were super focused for. They are playing on Saturday afternoon, following a Thursday night road win. Drexel again catches a team that may not be at their best off a home run win, back to back on the road on very short rest. Northeastern will not overwhelm them athletically.
This is a winnable game for Drexel.
The Elon win should give them confidence. However, it was their offense that won the Elon game. If their defense does not improve, Northeastern will have open three point shots all night. No amount of offense will top that. I say Northeastern comes in a bit flat in this early afternoon Saturday game. I am not a Drexel fan so trust me, this pick is entirely objective.
Drexel 78 Northeastern 77