After sweating out Selection Sunday to see if they were able to squeak into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996, the Drexel Dragons' dreams were dashed yesterday.
"It hurts," said senior Anthony D'Angelo, 22, as the final brackets were announced on television at student bar Landmark Americana. "A bunch of teams made it at-large that had double-digit losses. That doesn't make any sense to me."
The snub came after a strong season. The Dragons' 19-game winning streak was snapped Monday night in their 59-56 loss to Virginia Commonwealth University in the championship of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, sending VCU to the NCAAs and Drexel to a week-long on the bubble purgatory.
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"I think injuries in the beginning of the season and not winning the championship game really hurt them. They could have punched their own ticket," alumnus Jason Koeppel said. "It's disappointing, but we've been through it before."
The Dragons were, in part, shut out by the Saint Bonaventure Bonnies, who unexpectedly clinched an NCAA bid by beating the Xavier Musketeers to win their first Atlantic 10 Tournament yesterday.
"It is what it is," said Coach Bruiser Flint after the brackets were announced. He said the Dragons need to play tougher teams to raise their RPI and that he knew they were out when he saw Iona College get a bid.
The Dragons watched the results together, Flint said, but they did not have a public viewing party. "It becomes an emotional roller coaster and you don't want them to be on that."
The 27-6 Dragons will play in the NIT for the first time since 2007. "The season is over for a lot of teams, but it's not over for us," Flint said.