27-win Drexel Meets 27-win VCU in Battle of Teams Who Might Otherwise Get Snubbed

27-win Drexel Meets 27-win VCU in Battle of Teams Who Might Otherwise Get Snubbed

Welcome to the Colonial Athletic Association. Welcome to March. Welcome to a league where two 27-win teams from a conference that has produced two Final Four teams in the last six years have to fear being snubbed by the selection committee after winning -- one more time -- 27 games.

First, the important stuff. Tip-off between the (27-5, 16-2) Drexel Dragons and the (27-6, 15-3) Virginia Commonwealth Rams for the CAA Conference Championship is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN.

Second, the "what you need to knows" after jump...

-- The selection committee, or at least the bracketologists, aren't high on the CAA.

-- Drexel has won its last 19 in a row 25 of its last 26 games, but has meaningful wins over literally no one but VCU, meaning their RPI is iffy and their strength of schedule is an unmitigated disgrace.

-- VCU has a better tournament resume than Drexel based on their SOS and out-of-conference wins.

-- The above three points are important because without clinching an automatic bid with a win tonight, it's possible the loser could be snubbed from the NCAA tournament should the CAA not receive a single at-large.

-- Working against Drexel this evening is the fact that the CAA tournament in played in VCU's backyard of Richmond, which will make tonight, more or less, a VCU home game.

-- Working in their favor is the fact that they play an absolutely stifling defense in a style meant frustrate the living hell out of their opponents. Also working in the favor is the fact that Bruiser Flint is a mad man and allowed to walk 10 feet onto the floor the because no one has the courage to tell him otherwise. If either of these points make you think of John Chaney, then you agree with Bill Lyon.

Tip-off, again, is scheduled for 7 p.m. on ESPN.

We'll be back tomorrow to either celebrate the Dragons' autobid or to start worrying about whether they'll make the cut.

We'll also be back to set up the first rounds of the A-10 and Big East tournaments and Penn's matchup with Princeton for the opportunity to potentially play Harvard in a one-game playoff for the Ivy League's lone tournament bid.

Basketball. March. March. Basketball.

Drexel. Leggo.

Sixers teased in preseason finale with Jahlil Okafor back, Nerlens Noel out

Sixers teased in preseason finale with Jahlil Okafor back, Nerlens Noel out


MIAMI — Jahlil Okafor called it a “tease.”

He was talking about his oh-so-brief 2016-2017 debut, but he could have also been summarizing the Sixers' constant state of taking one step forward and one (injured) leg back.

Okafor, a 6-11 center and the NBA’s third overall pick in the 2015 draft, played 7:32 minutes on Friday and produced four points, one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover. He had been held out in camp previously because of knee soreness.

His return was the good news for the Sixers.

But, before Friday’s 113-110 exhibition finale win over the Miami Heat even started (see Instant Replay), the Sixers announced that center/forward Nerlens Noel will have a “minor surgical procedure in the coming days,” (see story).

Sixers center Joel Embiid, who has missed the past two years because of foot surgeries, said he empathizes with Noel.

“It’s hard,” Embiid said. “Obviously we need Nerlens if we want to win. But that’s basketball. Things happen. You can’t control injuries.

“I feel bad for him because this is the beginning of the season. Everybody wants to play the beginning of the season. But I’m sure he is going to work hard to come back even stronger.”

On the positive side for the Sixers, there was the return of Okafor … even it felt like baby steps for him.

“I started to feel really good,” said Okafor, who had surgery on his right knee in March and experienced soreness on that same knee Sept. 30. “It was kind of like a tease to me because I really got going. I wanted to continue to play, but that’s why I have the medical staff to keep me disciplined.”

Sixers coach Brett Brown said before the game that he would keep Okafor to just six to eight minutes, and he was true to his word.

Okafor, who made the only shot he attempted from the floor and was 2 for 4 on free throws, did not play in the second half.

“The scoring piece to my game, that’s like riding a bicycle,” Okafor said. “I know I can score the ball. It was good to get back out there with my teammates and hear them cheer for me on the side.”

Okafor said he tried to convince Brown to let him extend past the script of no more than eight minutes.

“He was like, ‘Have your lawyer call my lawyer,'" Okafor said. “We will talk about the season home opener (on Wednesday night against Oklahoma City), and hopefully I can increase my minutes.”

Okafor said he didn’t want to put a number on how many minutes he thought he could’ve played in his season debut except to say he knew he could play more.

Interestingly, Embiid, who had 18 points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes, said he felt Okafor was a bit fatigued.

“I think he was a little bit tired,” Embiid said. “Obviously, he hasn’t played in a while. But just like me, he’s going to dig down. He is a proven scorer. He can do whatever he wants on the court.

“Once he gets back in shape, we as a team are going to be really good.”

Okafor was a minus-5 while he was on the court. But Brown said he was impressed by some of the less-hyped aspects of Okafor’s game.

“I thought he was really good defensively,” Brown said. “He sat in his stance and moved his feet. I thought he did a great job of fronting the post.”

Brown said the Noel injury was almost unfair.

“Clearly, it was a situation in the preseason where he would have played a lot,” Brown said. “The timing is unfortunate.”

Penn routs Yale, 42-7, behind Alek Torgersen's 4 TDs

Penn Athletics

Penn routs Yale, 42-7, behind Alek Torgersen's 4 TDs


NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Alek Torgersen threw four touchdown passes, three to Justin Watson, and Penn rolled to a 42-7 victory over Yale in the first night game in Yale Bowl history.

Torgersen completed 16 of 23 passes for 229 yards and rushed for 66 yards. Watson had 10 receptions for 166 yards with touchdowns covering 5, 41 and 35 yards.

Torgersen moved into a tie for second with 47 career TD passes and Watson moved into fourth in career receptions (161) and touchdowns (17) for the Quakers (4-2, 3-0 Ivy Leauge).

Tre Solomon rushed for 120 yards, seven shy of the career high he set a week earlier, on 15 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown run, for Penn, which won its fourth straight. Cameron Countryman had a 10-yard touchdown reception and Karekin Brooks had a 13-yard run for his first career touchdown.

Penn, which led 35-0 at halftime, finished with 508 yards and held the Bulldogs (1-5, 1-2) to 229.