Yes, there is some garbage on this schedule, but let’s take a look at some of the biggest home games for the Dragons this year.
If I had basketball fever and the only cure was watching Drexel play Bryn Athyn, I don’t know if I’d be able to do it.
Unfortunately for me, I have a much more serious and permanent disease, it’s called being a Drexel basketball fan, so I’ll be there when they play the D-III Bryn Athyn, and when they tangle with Robert Morris, and I’ll be there when we seek revenge against NJIT.
I hope you’ll join me for all of those games, but I can understand why you might not want to.
Having a non-D-I school on the schedule is bad enough, but having that game as the home opener is not going to entice many fans. Believe me when I tell you, the powers that be at Drexel understand this is not a good look. Winning games, playing exciting basketball, and getting fans in the seats will allow the Dragons to play a more interesting schedule in future years, but what we have is what we have.
So, let’s take a look at the Drexel home games you need to be at this season, and remember you can get your Drexel tickets here.
UMBC @ Drexel: Saturday, December 8, 2:00PM
The University of Maryland - Baltimore County became the first number 16 seed to defeat a number 1 seed in NCAA Tournament history last year when they beat Virginia in convincing fashion.
Virginia, a team know for stingy defense, couldn’t stop UMBC, and their on and off offense failed them. It was truly a perfect storm, but enough cannot be said about the Terriers of Baltimore County.
From that magical team a season ago, UMBC loses guards Jarius Lyles and K.J. Maura, but will still be one of the better teams in the America East.
6’6 forward Joe Sherburne will create problems for the Dragons as he shot it at 45% from three-point range last season. I’m very curious to see how Drexel goes about guarding him, but I think it could be an enticing matchup between Sherburne and Zach Walton.
Ricky Council II, a transfer from Providence who didn’t see much time for the Friars will be looked at to replace some of the production the Terriers lose at guard. Drexel struggled mightily with big guards last season, and at 6’5 Council could create some of the same issues.
UMBC still has some cache from their cinderella victory last season, but in a much more tangible sense, this is a good team and it will be a fantastic matchup and challenge for Drexel.
Temple “@” Drexel: Saturday, December 22, 1:00PM
I hope by now everyone has listened to the Spiker Cast episode of Dragonscast.
One of the most interesting exchanges for me came when Spiker said he would've liked the Temple game to be played at the DAC, but Temple head coach Fran Dunphy made some valid points as to why the game must be played at The Palestra.
Fran Dunphy is a classy guy, and Spiker has all the respect and admiration in the world for him, which is why there’s no sense in putting up a fight when Dunph wants the game at The Palestra.
It could be as simple as Dunphy, who is retiring after this season, wants to play as many games at The Palestra, where he patrolled the sidelines as Penn’s coach for many years, on his way out.
I DO NOT KNOW WHAT HIS VALID POINTS ARE TO HAVE THE GAME AT THE PALESTRA. I need to make that clear. If you do know, please tell me and make me look foolish, but without having any knowledge of the situation, indulge me while I rant here.
Drexel has very few opportunities to sell out The DAC. They have very few opportunities to get the student body riled up for a game. They have very few opportunities to beat a City 6 opponent on their home court. This would’ve been a great opportunity.
Drexel played Temple to the wire last season, nearly pulling off the upset at The Liacouras Center. I think the Dragons will play them tough again this season. A win at home, in front of a packed house at The DAC would be a huge boost for the program. Dunphy, who is Mr. Philly Hoops, is taking that opportunity away from Drexel.
Teams typically schedule home and home games, and it’s unfair that Drexel would have to play at Temple and not have the opportunity to get the Owls at The DAC the next year. Spiker said it was Dunphy who had the valid points, and until I heard that I had assumed it just had something to do with money. It probably still does, but it comes across as a classless move.
If you are a student, fan, alum, professor, campus police officer, parent of a student, friend of an alum, own a blue or gold shirt, I NEED you to show up at The Palestra for this one.
I’ll be damned if someone tries to steal a home game from us.
As for the game itself, Shizz Alston versus Kurk Lee is a matchup of two of the best guards in the city and I can't wait to see how that battle plays out.
UNC-Wilmington @ Drexel: Thursday, February 7, 7:00PM
Devontae Cacok is one of my favorite players to watch. Not just in the CAA but in the entire country.
Last year, the 6’7 Cacok led the nation in rebounding with 13.5 RPG. Two seasons ago, he led the country in field goal percentage (all he does is dunk). He is the rarest of rare players, but he’s my kind of player and my lord, does he create problems. He’s a unique combination of athleticism, grit and anticipation who can take over a game without scoring a point.
Keeping him off the glass is a fools errand. Protecting the rim against him is equally as challenging, but it’s players like Cacok who make basketball fun.
Alihan Demir and Tim Perry Jr. will need to be ready for war when they get on the court with Cacok, but luckily for the Dragons, the rest of UNCW is beatable.
There is no reason Drexel can’t win this game, I project UNCW as a middle of the pack team in the CAA. Even if the Dragons don’t win, I promise you, you will get your money’s worth just watching Devontae Cacok play. He’s one of the best mid-major players in the country, and he’ll be at Drexel for one night only.
College of Charleston @ Drexel: Saturday, February 9, 4:00PM
I was torn between putting the Charleston game or the Northeastern game on my list.
They are the top two teams in the CAA, and Drexel will play them both tough, especially at home.
It all comes down to the players who I think are most exciting, and Grant Riller and Jarrell Brantley of CofC are two of the most exciting players in the conference. Vasa Puscia is considered the top player in the CAA by many, but if I could take one player from the conference and put him on Drexel it would be Brantley.
Brantley can do everything you want on a basketball court. He can defend, rebound, drive the lane and shoot from the outside. Yet, when it’s all said and done, I think his counterpart, Grant Riller, will be the conference player of the year.
Riller is out of the shadow of the graduated Joe Chealey, although many would argue he emerged last season, a year in which he averaged over 13 points per game and was named the CAA Freshman of the Week four times. Riller really stood out in Charlestons close, first round NCAA Tournament loss to Auburn in which he scored 16 points.
Northeastern may be the preseason favorite, but for my money Charleston is the best team in the conference.
And last year Drexel beat them at The DAC and had them on the ropes in their second round CAA Tournament meeting.
Sidenote, Drexel played a bunch of extremely exciting, down-to-the-wire games at The DAC last season. Drexel beat Lafayette by 1, Quinnipiac by 1, Northeastern by 1, JMU by 2, and Delaware by 2, but we’ll get to that in a second. They also beat Charleston by 5 in overtime, lost to Towson in overtime by 2 points and lost to UNCW by a point in the last game of the season.
When you look it at like that, a Drexel season ticket is the most bang for your buck in all of college hoops.
Delaware @ Drexel: Saturday, February 23, 5:00PM
If you were not one of the 800 or so people who attended this game last year, you missed NCAA history.
Drexel came back from being down 53-19, and won 85-83 capping off the biggest comeback in NCAA History. That is a record that will most likely outlive me, and my kids as well. It was a rivalry game in its purest sense. I shouldn’t need to provide any motivation to get people to show up for this one.
If you don’t want to see this matchup you don’t like Drexel, basketball, or fun.