Nearly 3 weeks into the season, the Mavericks are finally getting their first game this year in Baxter Arena.
Tuesday, Derrin Hansen said that the Mavericks had to create their own energy on the road, so it should be beneficial to his basketball team to finally receive some energy from a home crowd. Not sure how much energy the Mavericks are needing or expecting, but it may be difficult to come by on a Wednesday night.
The Mavericks are coming back to Baxter Arena after losing 7 straight games on the road. A road trip that saw one of their best scorers, Mitch Hahn, go down with a shoulder injury. The team was still able to make hustle plays and keep a few games close, and feel as if they could be 3-4 right now if just a few things had gone their way.
Still, things did not go their way on their road trip, so the Mavericks are 0-7. Seriously, with Hahn out, the Mavericks were playing stretches of the game against Jackson State with Alex Allbery or JT Gibson at the 4.
Fans bringing energy on a Wednesday night may be difficult to harness. That guy who sits about 8 rows behind the team bench and talks shit to the referees the whole game will bring it, but it wont be the home opener energy we experienced in 2015 when Baxter Arena opened.
Whenever the Drake Bulldogs visit Omaha in anything, Drake fans do show up. They may be the quietest fan base ever and sport a median age of 70, but they’ll show up enough for the Drake players to see the blue shirts in attendance.
The Bulldogs have shown that they love playing small ball with a bulk of their minutes going to their guards, so maybe a few minutes of JT Gibson at the 4 won’t be that big of a problem.
One of the reasons the Mavericks are 0-7 and not 3-4 right now is because of the number of mistakes in clutch moments. The Mavericks had several opportunities to beat Jackson State, but turned the ball over multiple times late in the game to give the Tigers more chances to eventually give themselves an opportunity for a last second shot.
In the Mavericks’ defense, Daniel Meyer played with the type of energy against Jackson State that the Mavericks need from him every game. Though, toward the end of the game, he had an offensive rebound and was fouled going back up to make the basket, but the referees called off the basket. That bad call was a large difference maker, and ruined the Mavericks chances of winning in regulation.
This is also a depleted Mav team that has been playing without two players that were expected to be big time contributors in Mitch Hahn and Renard Suggs. The Mavericks are still trying to figure out their rotations in competition, and not having those two in the lineup is making that even more difficult. I’m sure the Mavericks will welcome them back when they’re healthy again, but they’ll have to hit the reset button on figuring all of that out. The injuries to those two guys have given others the opportunities to step up.
KJ Robinson started the season off poorly, but has filled out his application to be the third member of the Big 3 for the Mavericks. In the first three games, Robinson averaged 6 points, 2.3 assists, 5 turnovers, and shot 26% from the field. In the last four games, he has averaged 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.8 turnovers, and shot 51% from the field. Robinson even knocked down 7 three point field goals against Tennessee Tech. He did a great job against Jackson State at finding the open man and had a nice pick-and-roll going with Daniel Meyer.
But what about Drake?
Niko Medved took over a Drake Bulldog team that is made up of mostly juniors and seniors. They have a great deal of chemistry, which he makes a point of making stronger and stranger, and the Bulldogs average 11 turnovers a game as compared to the Mavericks who average 18 turnovers, so far.
Also, Medved was an assistant under Tim Miles at Colorado State. He was previously head coach at Furman for 4 years where he coached the team to increase their win total each season he was there. Hold on a second, I have to troll Nebrasketball fans for a moment.
MEDVED AND CRAIG SMITH WERE THE REAL BRAINS BEHIND THE OPERATION AT COLORADO STATE
Drake already beat Wake Forest, who had also lost to Georgia State and Liberty, but beating a big conference team can bring a large amount of confidence to a mid-major basketball team.
The Bulldogs average over 85 points a game, and are also 12th in the nation in three point field goal percentage. The Mavericks will get to play the face paced offense they enjoy, but they’re going to have to cut down on the unguarded turnovers and defend the three. Two things that the Mavericks have struggled with the last few years.