Colonial Athletic Association meets Big Ten Wednesday as the Drexel Dragons face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
One season after finishing 13-19 overall and 6-8 in non-conference play, Drexel is currently 2-1. Most recently, Zach Spiker’s men outlasted visiting Abilene Christian 86-83 Sunday in overtime. A game prior, the Dragons took down host Niagara 72-64. The Colonial Athletic Association mainstay dropped its season-opener 70-62 vs. 2019 NCAA Tournament inclusion Temple.
The Scarlet Knights are undefeated after edging the Bryant Bulldogs 73-71 during a tense 2019 opener. Rutgers followed that success by dominating Niagara 86-39 Sunday. Sideline leader Steve Pikiell begins his fourth season with the Scarlet Knights. Pikiell inherited a struggling lot from former NBA standout Eddie Jordan and hasn’t finished any of his Scarlet Knight ledgers above .500. Rutgers' last winning season (19-14) came in 2006 under Gary Waters.
KenPom.com lists Rutgers as its #69 team while Drexel is ranked #242 by Pomeroy. The Scarlet Knights open Wednesday’s contest as -16 point favorites according to Pregame.com.
Rutgers basketball enjoying steady improvementMuch of Rutgers’ current spread confidence arises from strides within Big Ten play. The Scarlet Knights jumped from three 2017 conference wins to eight last year. And while Piekell’s men still have valleys to pass before contending within their major conference arena, optimism abounds. That momentum is still evident after losing 2018’s leading scorer Eugene Omoruyi (13.8) to Oregon. Omoruyi is replaced by sturdy return talent Geo Baker, Montez Mathis, Ron Harper Jr., Pete Kiss and Caleb McConnell. Along with several newcomers, big things are also expected from 6-10 pivot Myles Johnson.
Johnson finished with six points and six rebounds during Rutgers’ lopsided defeat of Niagra. Baker’s 22 points and four assists led all scorers as the 6-4 lead guard was joined in double-figure scoring by Stony Brook grad transfer Akwasi Yeboah (14 pts, two of four 3pt). Overall, on a banner night for Rutgers basketball, the Scarlet Knights shot 59 percent and seven of seventeen from deep. Rutgers held the Purple Eagles to 30.8 percent FGM while displaying steep competitive divide. Expect that divide Wednesday vs. mid-major Drexel.
After two games this season, Rutgers holds opponents to 55 ppg (#32 NCAA) & adds 79.5 ppg (#122).
Drexel seeks identity after losing top-end talentA program stuck in limbo, Drexel is picked near the Colonial basement while losing its top three scorers one year after finishing 7-11 in conference play. Troy Harper (15.8), Alihan Demir (14.8) and Trevor John (11.9) either graduated or transferred to create a void moving forward. With production opportunities wide open, 2018’s CAA Rookie of the Year Camren Wynter, James Butler and Zach Walton have stepped up. Walton’s 22 points and game-winner led the Dragons’ latest win as Butler (13) and Sam Green (11) added double-figures vs. Abilene Christian. Wynter finished with eight points and six assists in that overtime offense-fest. Though, needing extra frames to defeat plausibly inferior competition and eking a contest vs. a team your next opponent blasted by 47 points isn’t encouraging, even with home-court advantage.
This Drexel group has many hurdles to climb on its path toward respectability.
No contest here.— Drexel Men's Basketball (@DrexelMBB) November 11, 2019
The Gatorade Play of the Game is Zach Walton's overtime winner against Abilene Christian pic.twitter.com/itdqxSaRW7
Through three 2019 outings, the Dragons average 73.3 ppg (#185 NCAA) and allow 72.3 ppg (#228 NCAA).
Trends courtesy of Covers.com
- Scarlet Knights are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win.
- Scarlet Knights are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Scarlet Knights are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS win.
- Scarlet Knights are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 Wednesday games.
- Dragons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
- Dragons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.