Drexel holding out hope for late tournament run

There’s always buzz in college basketball when March rolls around. Schools are fighting for one of 68 invitations to the NCAA Tournament.

Drexel knows about the month of March all too well in recent years.

Back in 2006-07, the Dragons went 23-8, including out-of-conference wins over Syracuse, Villanova, Temple and St. Joseph’s. But they were left out of the Big Dance after a loss to VCU in the semifinals of the CAA tournament.

Last season, Drexel finished 27-6, including a 19-game winning streak, before they lost in the conference championship to VCU. It wasn’t enough for the selection committee. Instead, the Dragons qualified for the NIT.

“We’re at Drexel. We have to be realistic,” said Drexel coach Bruiser Flint. “We’re not a school that’s going to perennially make the NCAA tournament. So any sort of postseason is big for us. When we get a chance to go to the postseason whether it’s the NCAA tournament or the NIT, that’s big for a program like Drexel.”

This season, the injury-riddled Dragons stand at 6-11 (2-3 in conference) following last Saturday’s 59-48 win over William & Mary. Senior guard Chris Fouch (16.7 points a game) is out for the season with a broken ankle, while leading scorer Damion Lee (18.1 points) has missed four games due to injury.

Despite the recent struggles, junior guard Frantz Massenat (14.4 points, 4.2 assists) believes the Dragons are still capable of winning the CAA.

“Last year, we didn’t make it with a great record,” said Massenat. “If we can make it this year, with a record that isn’t so good, that would be crazy. We all have to believe we can do it though and play as a team together. That’s the only way we’ll be able to start winning.”

His coach agreed, adding that he has had his mind on March before the season even began.

“When we talk as a team, we talk about the last three games in March,” said Flint. “In order for us to really get into the tournament, we’re going to have to win the conference tournament. We obviously want to try and have a pretty good season in between, but the main goal is always to win the conference. We’re going to be a one-bid league this year, so we just have to go out and win it when the time comes.”

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