Andrew Logue covers Drake and Northern Iowa for the Des Moines Register.
Q: Are the Bulldogs making acceptable progress in coach Ray Giacoletti's second season?
I wrote earlier this season that fans need to check back in two years. I think a lot of folks were sort of excited after flirting with .500 last year. But this is Coach Giacoletti’s first real recruiting class. Guys like C.J. Rivers and Reed Timmer are solid, but young. I believe this staff knows what it’s doing, but it’s going to take time.
Q: Drake has six freshmen on the roster, two who start. Is the talent level moving in the right direction?
The Bulldogs are guard heavy, and have shown promise. But there is a serious lack of depth and experience in the post. Guys are having to play more minutes and at a higher level than they’re ready for. A freshman like Kory Kuenstling (6-11, 232 pounds) could have benefited from redshirting, but that wasn’t really an option for coaches who needed a backup for 7-foot sophomore Jacob Enevold Jensen. That’s why I think Drake may not receive dividends on its recruiting investments until 2016-17.
Q: Wichita State at Northern Iowa on Jan. 31 - First team to 50 points wins?
Ha, maybe. The Shockers look to have righted themselves since a narrow escape at the Knapp Center, while I think UNI is still sort of haunted by a loss at Evansville. The Panthers need to win Sunday at Illinois State, at Southern Illinois and then beat Wichita State at home next week to really make the Valley race intriguing. I can’t see the Shockers losing three games, but maybe two (if one of them is against UNI).