PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 2011-2012 men’s basketball season gets underway for Drexel on Tuesday morning, when they tip things off at Rider University at 6:00am.

Wait… what?!

That’s right, the Dragons will start the season in the wee hours of Tuesday morning with a made-for-TV event against the Rider Broncs.

Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint says his team had to make some special provisions to get ready for such an odd tip-off:

“Five ayem practices — which we’ve been having.”

After a 21-10 campaign last year, Drexel is the preseason pick to win the CAA this season.    And what about his team’s high expectations?

“You’ve got an opportunity to be good but you have to live up to it,” says Flint.  “You’re not going to sneak up on anybody.  You’re probably going to get everybody’s best game.  People are going to be ready for you, now you have to be ready.  That’s the biggest thing that you talk about.”

Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Bruiser Flint in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

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One of the reasons the Dragons are so highly thought of is the fact that six of their top seven players are back this season.  Right at the top of that list is the only senior in the bunch, forward Samme Givens (photo).

Givens was the only player in the CAA to average a double-double last season, scoring 12.2 points per game while pulling down 10.1 rebounds per contest.  He was named to the Preseason All-CAA first team.

What does Flint hope for his 6’5″ forward?

“I just talk to him about going out with a bang, hoping that we get to the NCAA Tournament, win the conference championship for him,” Flint tells KYW Newsradio.  “But when you are a senior, you (have) to be a leader, so I’m looking for some more leadership out of him.”

In addition to Givens, expect the Dragons to lean on junior guard Chris Fouch, who led the Dragons in scoring last season at 14.9 points per game.

Overall, Flint thinks this really could be a fun season.

“I like our experience — we still have to bring (along) a couple of our young guys, because one of our problems last year was no depth.  If we can get some of our young guys to come in and help us out with our depth a little bit, and our older guys play up to their potential, then we should be excited about what’s going on.”

After the early-morning opener against Rider, the Dragons head to the Virgin Islands for a tournament this weekend.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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