Saturday, January 29, 2011

Five pre-game thoughts: Drexel

Today will be Dreamtime for the Flying Dutchmen! (Best Hall and Oates song Hall and Oates never performed. Because it was Daryl Hall's lone solo hit!)

1.) Another game, another afternoon or evening to fret whether or not the Flying Dutchmen will have enough juice to outlast a CAA foe after a rough stretch of travel. The Dutchmen weren’t affected by the wild blizzard-like conditions that turned all of Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia into the world’s biggest parking lot Wednesday, but it did take them 10 hours to get to Richmond and then they spent a bunch of time on the tarmac waiting to fly home Thursday night before getting up early to distribute tickets at the Student Center. Mike Litos wondered, only half-jokingly, if Drexel got to Long Island before the Dutchmen. Probably not, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Fortunately for the Dutchmen, whatever advantage Drexel has is probably a small one: The Dragons only go seven-deep.

2.) We’re all playing games assuming that Charles Jenkins will get the 16 points he needs to break Antoine Agudio’s career record, but as Jeremy Kniffin notes in his preview article, Drexel has done a good job of containing Jenkins in the past: Jenkins scored fewer than 16 points in four of his first five career games against Drexel. Lately, though, he has been The Wolf: Thirty-two points at Hofstra last year during the Blizzard Game and 22 at Drexel the last time the two teams played Jan. 3. If I was a betting man, I’d play The Charles Jenkins Record Game! That said, it will be interesting to see the effect VCU’s performance against Jenkins (he was held to five points on 2-of-5 shooting by Ed Nixon Thursday) has on the approach other teams take against him.

3.) Greg Washington (40 points and 26 rebounds in his last three games) is almost unrecognizable from the player who had just six points and no rebounds in 10 minutes against Drexel earlier this month. But David Imes, who had his breakout game against Drexel (20 points on 8-of-8 shooting with eight rebounds) has had three quiet games in a row (10 points and 12 rebounds combined) and the Dutchmen will need Imes and Washington to have big games against a Drexel team that lives on the boards and has outrebounded the opposition by almost 10 per game.

4.) Both teams are coming into today off a loss, but Drexel is the more desperate team. The Dragons (5-5 CAA) will be all but eliminated in the race for a bye with a loss today. They’ve already lost once to Hofstra and are 2-4 against the teams ahead of them in the standings. Drexel, with plenty of New York natives on its roster, would surely love nothing more than to ruin Jenkins’ coronation and put the Dutchmen into a precarious position.

5.) But I can’t see it happening, Jenkins and his teammates have waited their entire careers (OK, fine, in some cases that’s just 21 games) to play in an environment like this at home. How can the Dutchmen lose in front of a sellout crowd on an afternoon in which Number 22 T-shirts are given out to students, Jenkins breaks the school record for points and Speedy Claxton is among the Hall of Famers honored at halftime? Yeah I know, that’s not very scientific, but the Arena will be busting at the seams today and the Dutchmen will ride the momentum of a historic afternoon to a pivotal win. I’m so confident about it, I’d play the Dutchmen in a CAA survivor pool today, if only there was such a thing!

5b.) Play the Charles Jenkins Record Game! Make your guesses in the comment section, by emailing me or yelling it to me on Twitter.

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