Thanks for nothing.
Drexel became just the second team in NCAA history to win 27 games and not get an invitation to the Big Dance. The Dragons (27-6 overall, 16-2 CAA) won the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title and won a school-record 19 straight games, but they fell three points short in the CAA tournament final. Drexel’s fate was sealed by a weak out-of-conference schedule.
Iona (25-7), a fellow mid-major and bubble team, was given a spot in the field of 68. Drexel coach Bruiser Flint told reporters that he knew the Drgons weren’t getting into the NCAA tournament when he saw Iona’s name pop up. Instead, Drexel accepted a bid to play in the NIT.
“I know a lot of people are going to compare them [Iona] to Drexel,” said Jeff Hathaway, chairman of the NCAA selection committee. “Iona was not the last team in. We had them rated high. I feel we got it right.”
It also didn’t help Drexel’s chances when St. Bonaventure stole a bid by winning the Atlantic 10 tournament. Ultimately, Drexel fell victim to a miserable strength of schedule rating (210) and RPI (66). Iona had a respectable 144 and 41, respectively, in those same categories.
“Should we be in? You win 27 games. ... What do you want me to do? I won 19 in a row. What do you want me to do? If you can’t get in with that, it’s pretty hard. It’s pretty hard,” Flint said last week.
This isn’t the first time Flint’s squad has been snubbed by the NCAA selection committee. In 2007, Drexel was left off the bracket after winning 23 games.
“I think I am more disappointed this time than last time,” Flint said yesterday. “This time it is what it is and we have to be ready to play this week.”
Indeed, Drexel has been installed as a No. 2 seed in the NIT and will take on No. 7 Stanford in the tournament’s Washington region.