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Non-league schedule should prepare Drexel for tough CAA

Two of the first three games are against NIT qualifiers from last year, Akron and Houston. Drexel will visit La Salle and Temple.

Drexel head coach Zach Spiker.
Drexel head coach Zach Spiker.Read more(Charles Fox/Staff Photographer)

Drexel should have a challenging non-league schedule to prepare the Dragons for their Colonial Athletic Association competition.

The Dragons, who open Nov. 10 at home against NIT participant Akron, will compete in the eight-team Paradise Jam tournament in Lynchburg, Va. Drexel will open with Houston, which should compete for an NCAA tournament berth in the deep American Athletic Conference. Colorado and Wake Forest are among the other teams in a tourney where Drexel is guaranteed three games.

Drexel will also play two Big 5 teams on the road, La Salle and Temple.

The first two CAA games are on the road, against two-time defending league champion North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW) and Elon, which welcomes back all five starters from an 18-14 team that was picked third in this year's preseason CAA poll.

The first home CAA game is Jan. 5 against preseason favorite College of Charleston, which is coming off a 25-10 season and a berth in the NIT. Drexel and CAA rival Delaware will as usual, meet twice, with the Dragons visiting Newark on Jan. 11 and hosting the Blue Hens on Feb. 22, the second to last game of the regular season.

The finale is against visiting UNCW on Feb. 24 before the CAA tournament takes place March 3-6 in Charleston, S.C.