The Dragons were able to mount a comeback in the second half led by freshman Damion Lee’s 20 points, and had a chance to tie it and force overtime in the final seconds but junior Chris Fouch’s three pointer rimmed in and out.
Due to the loss the Dragon’s are now at the mercy of the NCAA bracket committee, the Dragon’s 19 straight wins prior to tonight’s loss should help them, but the team’s low RPI is going to hurt Drexel despite its 27-6 record.
“We’re not going to be a team that goes to the NCAA tournament every year, Drexel is not built like that but I do think we are good enough to be in it, the kids are going to talk about it all the time, but we are still going to have to prepare because if we are not in it we are still going to be playing,” Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint told reporters after the game.
Drexel may not go to the NCAA tournament every season but the team is set up to make a run at the field of 64 the next few seasons. Drexel is only going to lose power forward Samme Givens at the end of the 2012 season, the rest of the Dragon’s will return next season a year older and at the very least with NIT post season experience.
The question at hand now is does Drexel deserve to be in it. They won 19 straight, and finished the season 25-2 after starting 2-4. The Dragons first 6 games were played at neutral sites or on the road, the team also fought through injuries in that time frame, the committee may take that into account, but how much will that be factored in, is anyone’s guess.
Drexel fans point to team’s from bigger conferences on the bubble like a North Western who is 18-10 but is 8-10 in the tough Big- Ten and ask the question is it fair for North Western to get in over Drexel?
North Western played 8 games against ranked opponents and went 1-7 in those games. At the time North Western played those games, three of the teams were in the top 10. The committee will see a team like North Western with an inferior record to Drexel, but will see the reason the record is worse is because of the competition North Western faced.
Drexel could prevent this RPI issue in the future if the school would add to its schedule one or two more tough games each season, Temple is just a ten minute drive away from the Drexel campus, that would be a good start.
If the school misses the tournament, they can only blame themselves, which is a shame because the team is loaded with good kids who have earned the right to have a chance to play in the tournament. If Drexel ends up in the NIT, instead of the NCAA’s the player college basketball fans should feel the worse for is Samme Givens. Givens who is just 6’5, put together a tremendous career at Drexel, over-came his size at his position to become only the third player in Drexel history to record 1,000 points and rebounds.
He is the type of kid Philadelphians root for, hard working, respectful, and appears to be grateful for any good fortune to come his way, after the team clinched at least a birth in the NIT he was filled with excitement. The rest of his teammates should be back in the CAA championship next March, in the long run Drexel is in good shape, but short term last night’s loss could prove fatal.