NCAA Basketball Tournament: 3 Reasons Why Drexel Deserves an at-Large Bid
At 22-5, the Drexel Dragons have completely destroyed the Colonial Athletic Association. The problem, though, is that it is the Colonial Athletic Association. Many have disregarded Drexel, but some have categorized them as a NCAA Tournament-caliber team.
A weak non-conference schedule has hurt the Dragons' cause, but a 14-2 CAA record has defined them as a dangerous mid-major team.
If the Dragons don't win the CAA Tournament, do they settle for the NIT? Here are three reasons why I believe the Drexel Dragons should still get an at-large bid.
Drexel has not lost since January 2nd and has lost two games since December 3rd. The Dragons have few bad losses and a few great wins. George Mason and VCU both fell in Philadelphia, along with 12 other CAA opponents. Non-conference wins include Princeton (defeated No. 21 Harvard), Fairfield (16-12) and Rider.
The NCAA Tournament committee supports consistent teams, and that is the exact word to describe the 22-5 Drexel Dragons.The Dragons have a BracketBusters game against Cleveland State on February 18th.
Strength of schedule is low for Drexel, at 227th. However, their RPI makes up for it, as CBSSPORTS ranks them as the 87th best team in the country. Surely that is too low, but their strength of schedule is the Dragons' Achilles heel.
2. Guard Play
The Drexel guards average 45 of the team's 61 points per game, along with eight of the team's 12 assists. This isn't to say how poor the frontcourt of Drexel plays, but how well the guards control the tempo.
Chris Fouch has breakout games every once in a while, with 23 points against Princeton, 24 against Niagara, 18 on Georgia State, 15 over Delaware and most recently, 25 points in the win over Hofstra. The junior guard can ball.
Freshman Damion Lee and sophomore Frantz Massenat are more consistent. Massenat hasn't scored less than 10 points since January 14th, with nine points in the win over Hofstra. Lee also is a consistent contributor, averaging 12 points per game. The true freshman scored 25 points in Drexel's latest win over Northeastern.
The NCAA Tournament Committee is not going to look at each of the 68 teams' guard play. However, Drexel's guard play is a huge reason why the Dragons are competing for an NCAA Tournament berth.
Drexel is 4th in the country in points allowed per game.
I saved the best one for last.
Besides the outstanding guard play, the Drexel offense is very mediocre. When it comes to defense, they are one of the best in the business. The Dragons allow an average of 55 points to opponents, which is unthinkable. They don't rebound, steal or block particularly well, but they don't allow easy shots. Period. Drexel's defense is what got them their 22 wins.
It isn't just the guards. Frantz Massenat, Damion Lee and Chris Fouch do play a big part in the backcourt, but Samme Givens, Daryl McCoy and Dartaye Ruffin don't get fooled by backdoor plays or easy pick and rolls. The men in the frontcourt play big and stand their ground.
Defense wins championships, and Drexel obviously takes that to heart.