The second-seeded Northeastern Huskies will try to avoid the upset bug when they face the Drexel Dragons in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinals in Harrisonburg, Va., on Monday. The Dragons upset third-seeded Charleston to advance to the semifinals.
Northeastern hasn’t played a lot of basketball of late, defeating William & Mary in the quarterfinals for its first win since Feb. 13. The Huskies had only played twice between those victories, losing at Towson and North Carolina in mid-February before being shut down until the CAA quarterfinals.
Northeastern (10-8) tied for the top spot in the CAA standings at 8-2 with James Madison but was relegated to the second seed due to a tiebreaker. In all, the Huskies had seven games this season canceled or postponed and have played just four times since Jan. 24.
One of those games canceled was a meeting with Drexel, so these two teams haven’t met yet this season. The Dragons (10-7) come into this one on a two-game winning streak, though they haven’t played much over the last month either. Those two wins came after a three-week break in action in February.
When you bet online on this game, Drexel is a one-point favorite with the over/under set at 131.
Drexel Dragons: Red Hot
The Dragons were on fire (pardon the pun) in the quarterfinals against Charleston, hitting 61% from the field in the first half and finishing with 11 3-pointers, setting a school record for the most in a CAA tournament game. After averaging 71.82 points throughout the season, Drexel has averaged 82.0 points per game in its two contests since being shut down for three weeks.
Senior swingman Zach Walton led the offensive assault against Charleston, finishing with 17 points, including 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. Walton is fourth on the team, averaging 10.5 points per game.
Leading the way this season has been junior guard Camren Wynter, who is averaging 17.5 points and 5.5 assists per contest. His 30 3-pointers on 41.1% shooting from beyond the arc led the Dragons as well.
Senior forward James Butler averages 13.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game, connecting on 58.4% of his field-goal attempts. Sophomore forward T.J. Bickerstaff is the fourth double-figure scorer for coach Zach Spiker, averaging 11.4 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 54.5% from the field.
Northeastern Huskies: Strong Finish
Northeastern advanced to the semifinals by making college basketball news with a dominant second half against William & Mary, rallying from a three-point halftime deficit to win by 16. Tyson Walker led all scorers with 19 points to pace the Huskies.
Walker has been the team’s leader all season, averaging 18.6 points and 4.8 assists per game. The sophomore guard has hit a team-high 39 3-pointers as well, while recording a CAA-best 2.4 steals per contest.
Freshman guard Jahmyl Telfort and junior guard Shaquille Walters are adding 10.8 and 10.5 points per game, respectively. Walters leads the Huskies with 6.6 rebounds per game, though only eight of his 113 total rebounds have come off the offensive glass.
Sophomore forward Chris Doherty is averaging 6.1 rebounds per game and is coming off a career-best 18-rebound effort in the win over William Mary.
The Huskies can’t afford a slow start against Drexel, which has been scoring in bunches over its last two games. Look for Northeastern to come out firing in this one to try to slow down the Dragons’ onslaught.
These two teams have endured long pauses in their seasons and now want to extend them as long as possible. One of these two will have to be done after this game while the other will be a step closer to NCAA March Madness, which means both squads will be fighting tooth and nail from the opening tip.
While Northeastern has the singular player that is probably the best in this game in Walker, the Dragons are heating up with multiple players, and that depth could end up being the difference in this one.
When making your college basketball picks, take the favored Dragons to win and cover to advance.