Let's be honest: With three games remaining in the regular season, the Drake Bulldogs (12-16, 7-9) probably aren't going to get much postseason play other than the conference tournament—which could end in a round or two for the Bulldogs.
Regardless of how disappointing the season may have been for head coach Mark Phelps' squad, the Drake Bulldogs will still compete in ESPNU's 2010 BracketBusters against the Cal State Northridge Matadors (10-16, 5-7).
Not exactly a showcase matchup. I shouldn't have to say it, but in case you're wondering, the game will not be televised.
But—and there is a but—Drake has a lot to gain from this contest, besides traveling to sunny California and escaping the ever-harshening Iowa winter.
Consistency, momentum, and confidence are three ingredients to a good team the Bulldogs are currently living without.
The Bulldogs finally shook a four-game losing streak by beating Southern Illinois 79-72 in Des Moines.
Not a moment too soon either. Fans were just starting to lose faith in a team that had previously won five of its last six—the only loss coming to Missouri Valley Conference king Northern Iowa. As the Bulldogs have discovered, hot and cold streaks don't get a team very far in the MVC.
Drake needs to find a way to put together a winning streak and build some much-needed momentum before heading into St. Louis for Arch Madness. The Bulldogs can play with any team in the MVC—except Northern Iowa. Drake split this season with second-place Wichita State (22-6, 11-5) and third-place Illinois State (19-8, 10-6).
It seems to be the middle tier of the MVC that gives Drake the most problems. That doesn't bode well for the Bulldogs, seeing as how their opening opponent for the MVC tournament will be from the middle of the pack.
Finally, Drake just needs some confidence for its younger players to build on for next year. Losing leading scorer Josh Young, leading rebounder Adam Templeton, Bill Eaddy, and Craig Stanley to graduation will hurt, but the Bulldogs have more first-year players on their roster than any other team in the MVC.
Hopefully the growing pains will get better, not worse, next season.
Either way, the Bulldogs' future will be greatly affected by how this season ends.