On sharing the ball:
-Drexel finished the regular season 16-13 (8-8)
-When Massenat and Fouch combine for 49+ points in a game the Dragons are only 2-2 this year
-When Massenat has 6 assists in a game the Dragons are 8-1
Drexel played five non-overtime games this year in which there were at least 68 possessions: UCLA, Illinois State, Arizona, Delaware (twice). Four of the games were away from the DAC and the Dragons were 2-3 in those games with an average point differential of -2, against opponents with an average kenpom ranking of 73.
Drexel played twelve games this year in which there were 63 or less possessions: Tennessee St, St. Francis, Southern Miss, William and Mary (twice), UNCW (twice), James Madison (home), College of Charleston (twice), Northeastern (away). The Dragons were 6-6 in 7 home games and 5 road games, with an average point differential of +3.5 against opponents with an average Kenpom rating of 214.
Reader of the blog and national college basketball guru Alan Boston was kind enough to help me out with the following: The 73rd ranked team in the country is New Mexico State, who is likely to win the WAC. If Drexel were to play them in Las Cruces, Drexel would be about a seven and a half point underdog. The 214th ranked team in the country is Cal Poly, If Drexel were to play them on a neutral court Drexel would be a five point favorite.
The spread between those two outcomes is twelve and a half points. Yet when DU plays a string of games against uptempo teams that average 73rd ranked teams on the road, vs a string of teams that play slow with a road/home close to even split, the spread was only 5.5 points (-2 to +3.5). They outplay their expectation of losing by 7 against the fast team, and under perform their expectation of winning by 5 against slow teams.
Need more data? Drexel is 7-1 against the spread when the game has more than 66 possessions. They’re 6-8 against the spread when there is 66 or less possessions (again, only counting non-OT games) in the game. If we consider the spread to be a reasonable determination of expectations, then Drexel is much less likely to have a Baltimore letdown if they push tempo. And oh by the way, the only game the Dragons didn’t win versus the spread when the game was uptempo? The game they went 4 guard against Delaware. Throw that out as an anomaly since they’re not going to do that again, and the Dragons would be a perfect 7-0.
In both of the games that Drexel has played this year against Northeastern, Drexel played a slow paced game. Both times the Dragons were favored. One time they went to OT, the other they lost in regulation. This. Is. Important.
Toughness is a word that every coach likes to talk about for a variety of reasons, I’m sure none of which include the fact that it’s entirely arbitrary and no one can call them wrong. I don’t know what any coaches definition of toughness is, but I’d imagine that letting the other team dictate how the game is played and the pace of the game shows a lack thereof. The Huskies will want to play this game low and slow, and the Dragons shouldn’t grant that wish if they to avoid another CAA Tourney letdown. No one here is saying that the Dragons suddenly need to turn into the running rebs, or even the Delaware Blue Hens, but when they have an opportunity to push the pace in transition, they should use it.