Drexel takes its 6-1 record to Louisville tonight (ESPNU, 9 o’clock). Even though the Dragons have played at Kentucky and Memphis in recent seasons, surely some of the expected 22,000 fans in the new KFC Yum! Center will ask “Where’s Drexel?”
Dragons coach Bruiser Flint thinks the underdog role may be an advantage, provided they play intelligently.
“We’ll have to play with discipline,” Flint said. “We’ll have to handle to atmosphere. We’ve played [big] games like this.”
No. 20 Louisville is 8-0 after replacing four starters from last season’s team (20-13, 11-7 Big East). Rick Pitino is in his 10th season as Louisville’s coach (time flies!) The Cardinals lost to California by 15 points in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
(Just wondering: Do recruits tell Pitino, “My dream has been to play in the KFC Yum! Center”?)
Drexel’s only loss was by six points at Rhode Island. The Dragons (1-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association) are the only CAA team with one loss. Drexel is outrebounding opponents 43.6-30.1 Samme Givens is leading the CAA with an 11.4 rebounding average. Daryl McCoy is fourth with 9.3 boards. Freshman Dartaye Ruffin is averaging 7.3.
After tonight Drexel plays at St. Francis in Loretto, Pa., Saturday at 1 p.m., then travels to fifth-ranked Syracuse (10-0) for a Dec. 22 game. Last season, Drexel crushed St. Francis, 57-35. Samme Givens paced the Dragons with 24 points and 16 rebounds.
-- Bill Fleischman