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Should the Big 5 just let in Drexel already?

Jan 8, 2014, 3:21 PM EDT

source: APLike many other college basketball teams, Drexel starts its conference season tonight. This is a decidedly good thing because it means the Dragons no longer have to worry about playing a non-conference schedule that was equally grueling and terrible.

Consider: aside from its participation in the NIT Season Tip-Off (a tournament it can only be in every few years at the most), Drexel played five road games, four of which were in California, Illinois, North Carolina and Mississippi. And here are the four powerhouse programs that came to Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center for non-conference games: Cleveland State, Tennessee State, St. Francis (Pa.) and Buffalo.

Average RPI? 220.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with scheduling a couple of cupcakes and making one or two long road trips before getting into conference play. But issues can arise when you have to get on a plane, as the Dragons learned last week. And Drexel coach Bruiser Flint has said time and again how he’d prefer to play big-time programs but has struggled to get them on the schedule for a variety of reasons (which were best chronicled in this excellent article from PhilaHoops’ Kevin Rossi). And he’d also like to play other Philly teams but only St. Joe’s will agree to come to the DAC, Drexel’s tiny on-campus gym.

Which brings us to the main point: Isn’t it time the Big 5 just let in Drexel? Or even more specifically, can’t we all just work something out where Drexel is able to play Penn, La Salle, Temple and Villanova in addition to St. Joe’s every season?

Here’s where some college hoops traditionalists might balk and start talking about tradition. And yes, the tradition of the Big 5 is one of the best and proudest in the city, dating all the way back to 1955. But the Big 5 has also evolved over the years, stopping the round-robin series for most of the 1990s and, most recently, moving most of the games out of the hallowed Palestra.

Would it really be any worse adding Drexel, which has proven to be a perennially strong mid-level Division I program? If anything, having six teams in the Big 5 could lead to the revival of city tripleheaders at the Palestra, one of the cooler traditions the Big 5 has ever done.

But how can the Big 5 include six teams, you say? Well, the Big Ten has 12 teams and the Atlantic 10 has 13 teams, so this wouldn’t be anything different. You might even call it a fun quirk.

The real issues seem to be that the current Big 5 teams don’t want to play at the DAC and Flint doesn’t want to play “home” games at the Palestra before then playing road games at the other school’s arenas.

Here’s where a compromise is needed. First, as others have noted, Flint really needs to get over his pride and play at the Palestra. The gym is practically on Drexel’s campus, and if playing there helps facilitate city games, it should be a no-brainer. Flint might complain about fairness but Drexel didn’t join the Division 1 ranks until 1973, two decades after the Big 5 was formed. Call it an entry free.

Some of the other city teams (and their fans) still might not be keen on the idea of playing Drexel every year – as this article, written by’s Brian Ewart, plainly shows. But Villanova head coach Jay Wright said recently how he loves playing games around the city because they don’t feel like road games. And replacing a team like Rider with Drexel on Villanova’s schedule would be an upgrade, as well a potential boost to the Wildcats’ RPI.

Sure, scheduling can be tricky when you throw another team in the mix. But if five teams can find a way to play each other every year, all six of Philly’s Division I college basketball programs should be able to do the same. And that would be a great thing for the city, for hoops fans and, of course, for Drexel’s non-conference schedule.

  1. FOJL - Jan 8, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    Love this idea although its hard core loyalists and idealists like JONOTHON TANNENWALD
    who think the Big 5 in its current construct is the be all and end all.

    TANNENWALD is one example of someone who refuses to budge on this.

    He is a fraud

    • DeboraRGarrett - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:45 PM

      you make $27h that’s great going girl good for you! My story is that I quit working at shoprite to work online, seriously I couldn’t be happier I work when I want and where I want. And with a little effort I easily bring in $45h and sometimes even as much as $85h…heres a good example of what I’m doing,…… T­E­C­3­­0.C­O­M

  2. denny falcone - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:05 PM


    Possibly the most horrendous thing ever written. Stick to coming on the U, Dave.

    • denny falcone - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      Did that snake Kevin Kinkead give my comment a thumbs down? What a bum.

  3. Drexel Dave - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Jonathan Tannenwald is too busy covering Villanova to notice the other teams in the city. I wonder why Nova hasn’t hired him yet since he’s their PR guy. Dude can’t wait to cover those spoiled asses.

    On this story, i’d love to have Drexel around the Big 5. Kick Penn out. They are worthless anyways.

    • FOJL - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      Drexel Dave made a great point

      Tannenwald is too busy brother-in-lawing Jay Wright.
      He sucks up to him about his fashion all the time

      He is a cheeerleader nowadays, rather than the good reporter he once was.

      He is trapped trying to make a living and not ruin his coveted relationships

      As a result, he has become a personal shill for Nova (among others)
      and has lost tons of journalistic credibility

    • St. Joe's Sam - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      I agree with Dave. Tannenwald needs to stop being so blatantly biased to the Vilecats. Bring on Drexel. We need the wins we can get.

      • FOJL - Jan 8, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        At least Dave Zeitlin is fair and honest, even though he does alot of work for Penn.
        Tannewald is the real fraud here. All he ever does is shill for Penn, Big 5, Wright
        and every single coach in town.

        He is a bogus wanna-be player in town.

        This stooge sits around all day at his office and tweets and tweets and sucks up
        to other writers in town (Mike Jensen, Rich Hoffmann etc)

        He needs to be called out for this

  4. Jerry - Jan 8, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    I have been following Big 5 and Drexel for 34 years.

    I have never heard of anyone named Jonothan Tannenwald….

    Whomever he is, he cannot be that relevant locally

    • FOJL - Jan 8, 2014 at 5:16 PM


      He is a blogger for but he is nothing more than a cheerleader for the people
      who enable him to draw a pay check.

      He is a suck up, a fraud, a phony, and needs to be called out for this.

      Instead of blogging and tweeting, he should be Jay Wright’s personal valet. Or Jerome Allens.
      Or Martelli. Or Dick Jerardi. Or Mike Kern. Or Jensen. Or Rich Hoffmann

      He is spineless, toothless, and gutless.

      • Temple Tony - Jan 8, 2014 at 7:10 PM

        I’m pretty sure he hates Temple too. Maybe because he wasn’t smart enough to get in there. I just wish he’d come out of the closet already wearing his Villanova jersey. I miss when Pompey was on the Temple beat.

      • Jerry - Jan 8, 2014 at 9:15 PM

        FOJL – Thanks for the explanation. Sounds like a wanna-be who is already a has-been.
        Will make sure to tune him out should I ever come across anything from him


      • Jerry's New Friend - Jan 8, 2014 at 9:17 PM

        Jerry you should do so. If you ever see Jonathan Tannenwald in public, i hope you have a cross or garlic because im pretty sure he’s a vampire.

      • Steve - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:40 AM

        @Temple Tony

        Because you need to be a Rhodes Scholar to get into Temple and all.

  5. Quakers Quami - Jan 8, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    I miss the days when Jonathan Tannenwald covered all the schools equally. I bet if he actually did some journalism he’d find out Jay Wright is an ass and a cheating one at that. Those suits are lined with the money he pays his recruits.

  6. themajor - Jan 9, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    so di FOJL post under ten different names here?

  7. Bitter Drexel Alum - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    F ‘em. I think it’s funny to keep them on the outside looking in.

  8. Simmonds17 - Jan 9, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    My answer to the question in the headline is “no” only because Drexel should have been admitted to the City Series long ago, maybe after they made the NCAAs for the first time in 1985.
    When the Big Five was founded, Drexel was not on an equivalent level with those other schools. No longer true.
    I do wish they would take at least some of their home games to the Palestra, though. And take ALL City Series games, including Temple and Nova’s home games, back to the Palestra.

  9. Alex - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    What does FOJL mean?

    And for what its worth, I have also never heard of Tannenwald.

    • mehhhhh1 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:13 PM

      • Alex - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        Interesting feed. Not sure what to make out of it.

        If there is a back story, please share

  10. DU Dragon - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    As a Drexel alumni, I’d love to see the Dragons included and have their players recognized, however, until the Drexel administration is willing to show a commitment to the program. If you have never been to or seen the DAC (Drexel’s gym), it is an embarrassment to the school and a Division 1 program and desperately needs to be replaced. The administration has no drive to try and drum up support to raise the funds for a more modern building, they are waiting for another alum to pick up the phone and show up with a $20 million check. Meanwhile Bruiser (who has his faults as a coach) is left to fight every year with one hand tied behind his back and the other hand broken.

  11. Temple Tony - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    I wish Temple would fire Dunphy and hire Bruiser. Fran’s past his time.


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