MAINE men vs. DREXEL
Time, site: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: Maine 5-10 (2-5 America East), Drexel 6-9 (4-4)
Series: Drexel leads 14-6
Key players: Maine – 6-1 G Fred Meeks (22.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg), 6-1 G Marcus Wills (20.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg), 6-6 F Allen Ledbetter (15.1 ppg, 11.7 rpg), 6-7 F Colin Haynes (5.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg), 5-11 G Dade Faison (4.3 ppg, 6.1 apg); Drexel – 6-9 F Joe Linderman (17.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg), 6-2 G Mike DeRocckis (15.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg), 6-1 G Bryant Coursey (7.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg), 6-6 F Petrick Sanders (6.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg), 6-5 G Stephen Starks (5.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
Outlook: For the first time since the Black Bears last beat Drexel in 1995, the Dragons are looking a little vulnerable. Drexel has lost six of its last seven, including dropping conference games to Hartford and Hofstra in the Dragons’ own lair. Drexel loses two straight at home about as often as, say, Maine loses power for a week. DeRocckis is an outside sniper that the Bears should be able to contest better this time around with its quick perimeter defenders, and the Ledbetter-Linderman battle could be a draw. But don’t forget: This same Drexel squad almost knocked off Princeton, and is still the team that lost in the league title game last year. Coach Bill Herrion will have the Dragons ready.
MAINE women vs. DREXEL
Time, site: Thursday, 7 p.m.; Physical Education Athletic Center, Philadelphia
Records: Maine 11-2 (7-0 America East), Drexel 7-8 (4-4)
Series: Maine leads 16-1
Key players: Maine – 5-9 G Cindy Blodgett (27.9 ppg, 6.0 apg, 4.9 rpg), 6-4 C Jamie Cassidy (20.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg), 6-1 F Klara Danes (9.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg), 5-9 G Sandi Carver (7.3 ppg), 5-7 G Amy Vachon (6.8 ppg, 6.7 apg, 4.3 rpg, 2.7 spg); Drexel – 6-0 F Jen MacNeill (13.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg), 5-8 G Laura Lyons (10.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.5 apg), 5-9 G Maureen Michaels (10.1 ppg, 2.9 apg), 5-10 F Mikki Miller (7.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg), 6-2 C Michelle Maslowski (8.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg).
Outlook: Maine should receive an emotional lift from Blodgett, who is cleared to play after missing four games with plantar fasciitis in her left foot. Maine leads the league in scoring (80.2 ppg), field-goal percentage (.511), and 3-point percentage (.369). The Dragons are 6-1 at home this season and have won three straight, including Sunday’s overtime win over Northeastern. Drexel likes to work the ball inside, where resulting fouls help the Dragons utilize their league-leading .730 free-throw percentage. Drexel ranks third in scoring defense at 63.7 ppg, but must contend with Cassidy, who has averaged 24.3 ppg in Blodgett’s absence.