Drexel @ Eastern Michigan - Friday, 11/9, 11:00AM
Start working on your sick voice to tell your boss you’re not coming in that day. Yes, an 11AM tipoff on a Friday is definitely strange, but that just makes the kick off to the season all the more exciting. EMU is one of the most talented teams in the MAC, and have every intention of dancing come March. Center James Thompson IV averaged 14 and 11 last season, and at 6’10 he will give Tim Perry Jr. and Alihan Demir all they can handle. The Eagles also return their leading scorer Elijah Minnie, but don’t be deceived by his name. The 6’9 combo forward can score in multiple ways and averaged 16.8ppg last season. This will be a serious challenge for the Dragons.
Drexel @ Rutgers - Sunday 11/11, 3:00PM
The Scarlet Knights are one of those teams that should be good, but can never seem to get their act together. Head Coach Steve Pikell has seen improvements from his team, especially on defense. They held opponents to 64.8 points per game last year, which was a leap forward. It will still be early in the season, and both teams will probably still look sloppy, but this one could be high scoring. Rutgers will have Quinnipiac transfer Peter Kiss who was brought in to provide offense, as well as freshman Ron Harper Jr. who lit it up in high school. Both teams will be breaking in plenty of new players, and it will be interesting to see which team gels more quickly.
Bryn Athyn @ Drexel - Wednesday 11/14, 7:00PM
I’m so tempted to just write “pass” here, but I actually have a story.
My cousin played ball for a small college in Jersey, and a few years ago they played at Bryn Athyn. I attended the game and remember two things from it. First, the officiating was, without question, the worst I have ever seen in my life. I will never see a more poorly officiated game. It was unreal. Second, after the game when my cousin came out of the locker room, the first thing he said to me was “my high school team would’ve beaten these guys.” So there you go, that’s Drexel’s home opener.
Drexel @ La Salle - Saturday 11/17, 4:00PM
We beat them at their place last year and we’ll do it again. Well, we’ll at least try to. The biggest difference is the upgrade in coach for the Explorers. Former Drexel guard Ashley Howard is now at the helm, and tasked with returning La Salle to the prominence they once saw. It won’t happen this season, as the Explorers lose last years best player B.J. Johnson. They also lose two other senior starters, but return guard Pookie Powell who can do some serious scoring. In the first Gold Game of the season, look for Drexel to score some points and take advantage of La Salle’s youth.
Boston University @ Drexel - Wednesday 11/21, 3:00PM
Boston U was a middle of the road team in the competitive Patriot League, finishing last season 15-16. That being said, they have been infused with new life. Texas Tech transfer Alex Vilarino will be looked at to provide solid D and scoring. Boston is a young squad, but talented. Much of their success this season will depend on how well freshman forward Jack Hemphill and freshman guard Garrett Pascoe develop. Coach Spiker is familiar with BU from his time coaching Army in the Patriot League.
Drexel @ Bowling Green - Sunday 11/25, 3:00PM
Bowling Green ruined Drexel’s home opener last season, and the Dragons will try to exact revenge. BGSU struggled mightily at the end of last year after getting off to a hot start. Coach Michael Huger is one of the better mid-major coaches out there, and won’t let their late season stumbles carry over. Kurk Lee had 11 points, and Troy Harper had 8 against Bowling Green last year. Both will need to step up for Drexel to avoid consecutive losses to the Falcons.
NJIT @ Drexel - Wednesday 11/28, 7:00PM
Drexel lost to NJIT by 12 last season in one of those head scratching games. Last year, Drexel matched NJIT from a talent standpoint for sure, but just never got it together. Anthony Tarke, who had 13 points and 7 boards in the game, has transferred to UTEP, so the Highlanders will look to 6’10 center Abdul Lewis to pick up the slack. There is no doubt that Drexel will be tested in the paint early in this one.
Robert Morris @ Drexel - Saturday 12/1, 2:00PM
The Dragons fell to Robert Morris by 14 points in Pittsburgh last season, but Dachon Burke who lit Drexel up for 25 has left RMU. That’s the good news. The bad news is they return NEC Freshman of the Year Koby Thomas, and will be bolstered by Akron transfer Josh Williams. The 6’2 guard is one of the top newcomers in the NEC. Drexel was led by Kurk Lee’s 15 points in the loss last season.
Loyola (MD) @ Drexel - Wednesday 12/5, 7:00PM
The Greyhounds escaped with a win in a hard fought game last season in Baltimore. Philly’s own Chuck Champion will lead Loyola who look to improve upon a 10 win season last year. The talented guard, who was 4-4 from three and had 21 in their meeting last year, will be joined by highly touted freshman Jaylin Andrews in the backcourt. Coach Tavaras Hardy is in his first season at Loyola, and while expectations may not be high this year, Loyola will give Drexel all they can handle.
UMBC @ Drexel - Saturday 12/8, 2:00PM
UMBC made headlines last year when they became the only 16 seed to defeat a 1 seed in the history of the NCAA Tournament. They defeated the University of Virginia by dismantling the typically stingy Cavaliers defense. UMBC graduated two stars from that team in Jarius Lyles and K.J. Maura, so, much of their success will depend on the play of forward Joe Sherburne. This should be a great game to attend at the DAC.
Drexel @ Quinnipiac - Sunday 12/16, 6:00PM
This good matchup is part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off played at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. While this may not be the marquee game of the day, it sure will be an entertaining one to watch. Drexel narrowly defeated Baker Dunleavy’s squad last season at The DAC. The Bobcats will contend for the MAAC title this season, as they return wing Cameron Young who averaged 18.8 points per game last season. Dunleavy also landed New York’s Mr. Basketball in freshman Shavion Lewis. In a game that will have some degree of national attention, the Dragons will need to come ready to play against a Quinnipiac squad that will be much improved.
Drexel @ UConn - Tuesday 12/18, 7:00PM
In what is the marquee matchup on the schedule this season, Drexel will head to UConn to take on a rebuilding Huskies team. After catching lightning in a bottle and winning the national title in his first season, coach Kevin Ollie was never able to build upon that, and was replaced by Dan Hurley. UConn, despite having some rough seasons, has the talent one would expect from a program of their caliber. In the backcourt, Jalen Adams and Christian Vital have the potential to take over games, and that’s exactly what they’ll try to do. Drexel will need to play lockdown defense, and Kurk Lee will need to be at his best for the Dragons to compete in this one.
Temple “@” Drexel - Saturday 12/22, 1:00PM
This game is being played at The Palestra. On the Dragonscast episode with Coach Spiker, Spiker said Temple coach Fran Dunphy had some legitimate points as to why this game should be played at The Palestra instead of The DAC. I know we’re supposed to bow at the alter of Dunphy, but this is annoying. This would have been a great game to play at The DAC, especially for recruits to see the incredible environment The DAC can be. Instead, the baby gets his bottle. Drexel nearly beat Temple at their place last season, and standouts Quinton Rose and Shizz Alston will looks to dominate this game start to finish. This will be a battle between two good guards in Kurk Lee and Alston. I know Dunphy is well respected and a classy guy, but I want nothing more than to send him into retirement with an absolute ass-whooping. PLEASE COME OUT TO THIS GAME.