Hours before his team faced CAA preseason favorite Drexel, William and Mary coach Tony Shaver planted a seed -- with a backhoe and a bullhorn -- for what was required to compete against the league's hottest team.

"One of the keys to our game against Drexel, whether it's here or there, is how it's called by the officials, to be honest with you," Shaver said on the CAA coaches' weekly gabfest. "They're a very physical brand of defensive ballclub. With the point of emphasis of officials this year -- it's on the (video) tape we all had to watch -- is 'freedom of motion.' If 'freedom of motion' is called, we'll get to the foul line some; if it's not, we won't. Getting to the foul line is very important against them."

Drexel has won 12 of 13 and is part of the group tied for second in the CAA. But the Dragons have lost seven of their last 10 games to William and Mary and the last five in Williamsburg -- one of those peculiar occurrences like the Redskins sweeping the New York Giants or the popularity of "Jersey Shore."

"We shoot 25 percent and we put 'em on the (foul) line a lot, the last couple of years," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. "We've got to shoot the ball better, we can't foul 'em. We get a lot of fouls called on us down here. It's a tough offense to play against -- the Princeton offense, a lot of cutting.

"We are a team that bangs a lot," Flint added, "but we seem to get called for a lot of fouls down here, so we've got to watch ourselves with that. But one of the biggest things is we have shot the ball absolutely terribly down here, and that's one reason why we don't win the games."

Last year, a W&M team that won only four league games dusted the Dragons 80-66 at Kaplan Arena. Drexel shot 38.7 percent from the field, while the Tribe shot 60 percent for the game, a remarkable 76 percent in the second half, and went 25-for-30 from the foul line.

Two years ago, William and Mary shot 37 free throws and outscored the Dragons by 19 from the line in a 54-51 win. In 2009, Drexel managed just 16 points in the first half and shot 32 percent from the field in a 48-47 loss at Kaplan to a W&M team that won just five league games.

"I think the keys against them are getting some penetration against their physical brand of defense and getting to the line a little bit," Shaver said. "You've got to rebound the ball against them. You can't give them second shots."

The Tribe (4-16, 2-6 CAA) is playing its third game in five days and comes off of two disappointing losses -- a 69-68 overtime loss at VCU, and a 68-66 home loss to UNC Wilmington on Saturday.

With just one day between games, Shaver said the team has done more film study and shooting than hard practice.

"As far as the physical side of practice," Shaver said, "we've done very little, other than shoot the ball and review some things. I really think for us to be successful tonight, we have to be as fresh as we possibly can be. We could have practiced for two hours (Sunday) and maybe worked on some things, but I don't think we would have been ready to play today."

Shaver added, "I think it depends on your ballclub. I think some teams in our league that are so athletic and size is in their favor and have great depth, you can afford to do a little bit more. But for us to be successful, we've got to be fresh. So we've tried to rest our kids a little bit these two practice days."