Zach Spiker (above) and the Dragons have the first game in the region this year, an exhibition vs. West Chester on Oct. 28. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
(Ed. Note: This article is part of our 2017-18 season coverage, which will run for the six weeks preceding the first official games of the year on Nov. 10. To access all of our high school and college preview content for this season,click here.)
Here’s a look at the Dragons’ schedule for 2017-18:
The Dragons were .500 12 games into the 2016-17 season, but things unraveled in late December. Drexel finished its season 3-17, including a 3-15 conference record. The Dragons went on losing streaks of four or more games three times last season, including a six-game skid to end the year.
Drexel will need to be ready to go out of the gate in 2017-18 as it faces a talented Houston team three games into its season on Nov. 17 in the Paradise Jam. With the Cougars, Temple and La Salle all on the non-conference slate, things will be even more difficult than last year for the Dragons to start the season.
It doesn't get much easier for the Dragons once Colonial Athletic Association play begins. After a trip to Elon, Drexel plays UNC-Wilmington, the College of Charleston and William & Mary all in a row.
Drexel should be improved in Zach Spiker’s second year, but it will be important to get some momentum building early and carry it into conference play.
Non-Conference: Dec. 7-16 (@Temple, @ Robert Morris, @ La Salle)
While there won’t be too much travel in these three road games, they will prove difficult nonetheless for the Dragons. Temple and Drexel haven’t met since the 2007-08 season, but the Owls hold a 18-3 series lead. Robert Morris has gone 24-41 during the past two seasons, but the Colonials finished the season 7-3 and could be a tough test away from home. Like Temple, La Salle has dominated its City 6 foe. The Explorers hold an 18-4 series record, including an 89-78 win last year.
Conference: Jan. 2-7 (@UNC-Wilmington, College of Charleston and William & Mary)
UNC-Wilmington lost two of its top players and coach Kevin Keatts, but the Seahawks have represented the CAA in the NCAA Tournament twice in two seasons and are still the team to beat in the conference. The Cougars finished second in the CAA in 2016-17 and with guard Joe Chealey (see below) returning, are once again one of the top teams in the league. Finally, Drexel will get William & Mary, the fourth-best team in the CAA last season. Not an ideal stretch.
Opposing Players to See
1. Ryan Daly, G, Delaware
Daly, an Archbishop Carroll grad, was the Rookie of the Year in the Colonial Athletic Association after averaging 16 ppg and 7.4 rpg. He should have another big year for the Blue Hens in 2017-18.
2. Joe Chealey, G, College of Charleston
Chealey made the All-CAA first team and All-CAA defensive team a season ago. He scored 17.8 ppg, 3.2 apg and 1 spg. The 6-4 guard averaged 19.5 ppg, 4 apg and 2.5 spg in two games against Drexel.
3. Rob Gray, G, Houston
Gray can really fill it up. He led The American in scoring at 20.6 points per game in 2016-17.
Drexel and Delaware have split their two season matchups for four straight years. While the Dragons handled the Blue Hens in a 16-point victory in the teams’ first meeting last season,the second contest ended in a 68-67 win for the Blue Hens. In 87 meetings between these two teams, the average point differential has been one.
2. William & Mary
Both of these teams really like to push the basketball. The Tribe and Dragons ranked first and third, respectively, among CAA teams in adjusted tempo last season. In 2016-17 both games were blowouts -- a 108-85 win for William & Mary and a 79-61 win for Drexel. With the Dragons in year two of Zach Spiker’s system it could look like a track meet when these teams meet up again this season.
These two teams played two very exciting games last season, but both were very different. The Tigers edged the Dragons 104-103 in double overtime in the first matchup and pulled out a 69-65 win in the second. Unlike William & Mary, Towson’s style of plays contrasts Drexel’s. The Tigers ranked 196th in adjusted tempo. It will be interesting to see how things play out this season.
Full Schedule (all times TBD unless otherwise mentioned)
* = Colonial Athletic Association game
# = Paradise Jam
Sat., Oct. 28 vs. West Chester (Exhib., 4 PM)
Fri., Nov. 10 vs. Bowling Green (7 PM)
Mon., Nov. 13 vs. Arcadia (7 PM)
#Fri., Nov. 17 vs. Houston (3:30 PM)
#Sat./Sun. Nov. 18/19 vs. Liberty/Mercer
#Mon., Nov. 20 vs. TBD
Sat., Nov. 25 @ NJIT (4 PM)
Weds., Nov. 29 vs. Lafayette (7 PM)
Sat., Dec. 2 vs. Rider (4 PM)
Thurs., Dec. 7 @ La Salle
Sun., Dec. 10 @ Robert Morris (2 PM)
Sat., Dec. 16 @ Temple (5 PM)
Mon., Dec. 18 vs. Quinnipiac (7 PM)
Thurs., Dec. 21 @ Loyola (Md.) (7 PM)
*Sat., Dec. 30 @ Elon (2 PM)
*Tues., Jan. 2 @ UNC-Wilmington (7 PM)
*Fri., Jan. 5 vs. Charleston (7 PM)
Sun., Jan. 7 vs. William & Mary (2 PM)
Thurs., Jan. 11 @ Delaware (7 PM)
Sat., Jan. 13 vs. Hofstra (4 PM)
Thurs., Jan. 18 @ Towson (7 PM)
Sat., Jan. 20 @ James Madison (4 PM)
Thurs., Jan. 25 vs. Elon (7 PM)
Sat., Jan. 27 vs. Northeastern (2 PM)
Thurs., Feb. 1 vs. James Madison (7 PM)
Sat., Feb. 3 @ William & Mary (4 PM)
Thurs., Feb. 8 vs. Towson (7 PM)
Sat., Feb. 10 @ Charleston (4 PM)
Thurs., Feb. 15 @ Northeastern (7 PM)
Sat., Feb. 17 @ Hofstra (4 PM)
Thurs., Feb. 22 vs. Delaware (7 PM)
Sat., Feb. 24 vs. UNCW (4 PM)