Drexel at Temple
When and Where: Tuesday, Nov. 5, The Liacouras Center, Philadelphia, Pa., 8 p.m. EST.
It is back to the future for Temple -- Aaron McKie is the latest former player-turned coach at his alma mater as he makes his NCAA head coaching debut Tuesday night for the Owls against intracity rival Drexel.
Dragons look to turn corner in Spiker's fourth seasonWhile Drexel is not considered part of the "Big 5" rivalry among Philadelphia-area Division I teams, the Colonial Athletic Association school usually turns up on one or two schedules among those schools every season.
The Dragons have not had a winning season since going 16-14 in 2013-14 and not made the postseason since claiming an NIT bid in 2011-12 and going 29-7.
Drexel went 13-19 in 2018-19 and finished tied for sixth in the CAA. The Dragons return two of their five starters but must replace second-leading scorer and rebounder Alihan Demir (14.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg), who opted to graduate and transfer to Minnesota.
Coach Zack Spiker, though, must also improve a defense that yielded 77.3 points per game last season -- the second-worst mark in the Colonial and tied for 309th nationally. Drexel was tabbed to finish eighth in the preseason CAA poll, ahead of only UNC-Wilmington and Elon.
2019 CAA Rookie of the Year Camern Wynter is expected to be Drexel's go-to player offensively. He averaged 11.3 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.6 rebounds last season and was also sixth in the league in steals (1.38).
“No one can say they were expecting that,’’ Wynter told the Philadelphia Inquirer about last season. “I wasn’t surprised when it happened. I knew how much work I had put in, how true I was to getting in the gym every day. I was just glad my hard work was paying off.”
This game is also about family bragging rights for sophomore forward Tim Perry Jr., whose father played at Temple from 1984-88 and was the seventh overall pick in the 1988 NBA draft. The younger Perry averaged 2.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in 27 games as a freshman in 2018-19
Wynter had 12 points but also seven turnovers in last season's 82-64 home loss to Temple, Drexel's third straight in the series since a 69-54 road win in 2006.
McKie takes Temple reins after five years as assistant to DunphyPhilly-born and Philly-bred, McKie makes the slide one seat over to head coach after serving as an assistant and associate head coach the previous five seasons under Fran Dunphy, who retired after getting Temple to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in his 14 seasons after replacing McKie's former coach, John Chaney.
It all started on a playground in North Philly... pic.twitter.com/aG0xIvGiYD— Temple Men's Basketball (@TUMBBHoops) April 2, 2019
McKie was part of the Owls during their peak under Chaney, powering them to one of their five NCAA Tournament regional final appearances while scoring 1,650 points in three seasons. A first-round pick in 1994 by Portland, McKie had a 13-year NBA career and quickly jumped into the coaching ranks after retiring, serving as an assistant with the Detroit Pistons for five seasons before joining Dunphy's staff in 2014.
"If you look at my lifespan and my connection to this program, I went from being a kid watching Big 5 games, watching Temple Basketball, and really enjoying watching Coach (John) Chaney and the local guys he coached," McKie told Temple's official website. "From there I went from watching to playing and having an impact on this program. It was an honor to play for Temple and now I get the honor of being the head coach.
"It is a lot of responsibility because I am following in the great footsteps of Coach Litwack, Coach Chaney, and Coach (Fran) Dunphy, who I had the pleasure to work with and who gave me my first opportunity to coach in college. I am extremely grateful, and I want to do a great job for those guys."
The Owls cupboard is still fairly well-stocked from the team that won 23 games last season and was in the First Four as starting guards Quinton Rose and Nate Pierre-Louis return. Rose averaged 16.3 points, 2.5 assists, and 2.2 steals while Pierre-Louis chipped in 13.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.
Pierre-Louis' younger brother, freshman Josh, is expected to be a regular in the rotation, and McKie is counting on J.P. Moorman to be Temple's top perimeter threat. Moorman primarily came off the bench last season and averaged 5.9 points but shot 41 percent from 3-point range.
"J.P. is one of our glue guys," McKie told Blue Ribbon Yearbook. "He is a hard worker, a guy who is continuing to get better. I like his versatility. He'll be playing some of that stretch-four position, as people call it now. He can make open shots and is capable of putting the ball on the floor and getting by bigger and slower guys."
- 0-6-1 ATS in its last seven Tuesday games.
- 2-4 ATS in its last six games vs. Temple.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games vs. CAA opponents.
- The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last six games between the teams.