After much anticipation, the official release of the Drexel Dragons 2013-2014 men's basketball schedule was announced on Wednesday evening. A few games had already been leaked out, including the season opener on November 8th at UCLA. The Dragons will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Bruins for the first time since the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden back in 2005.
Speaking of the NIT, the Dragons are one of 16 teams in the field in this year's pre-season tournament. Drexel will start off in Piscataway, New Jersey on the campus of Rutgers with a November 18th matchup against Elon, a team ironically joining the Colonial Athletic Association for the 2014-2015 season. The Dragons will then face either Rutgers or Canisius the next day depending on the results of the prior day.
Looking at the NIT Bracket, if the Dragons were to win two games in Piscataway, they would advance on to Madison Square Garden to take on the winner of the Arizona bracket. It's certainly not impossible to think the Dragons could get to MSG and be put on the national stage of the pre-season NIT for the second time in the program's history. Even if Drexel does not win the Rutgers bracket, the Dragons will still play two more games in the consolation bracket.
In between UCLA and the NIT, Drexel will face Illinois State on the road, in what is the return game from last year's home loss at the DAC. After all the NIT games, the Dragons will be home for two non-conference games against Cleveland State and Tennessee State in the beginning of December, followed by a trip down to North Carolina in the return game against Davidson, a team Drexel beat at home last season.
The lone Big 5 foe on Drexel's schedule is next with the Dragons playing Saint Joseph's at Hagan Arena on December 18th. That follows with two home games against St. Francis (PA) and Buffalo to round out the 2013 portion of the schedule.
Before getting into conference play, Drexel will travel down South to take on Southern Mississippi in what will be the program's first matchup against each other and the first time the Drexel program will play a game in Mississippi.
Some top games on Drexel's home conference schedule include Towson on January 14th, Delaware on January 20th and the newcomer to the CAA, Charleston, on Senior Night, February 26th. Drexel is on the road against Towson and Delaware on February 1st and 23rd, respectively, two games that will surely attract a lot of Dragon fans to the respective road arenas.
This Drexel season should be very interesting with a mix of solid veterans, including the return of sixth-year guard Chris Fouch, as well as a great crop of newcomers. If the Dragons can find a way to knock off UCLA and win a few games in the NIT, Drexel could be put on the national map real quick.