The WolfPack may have just ousted the DACPack.
Thanks to conference Player of the Year Andrew Nicholson's 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks, St. Bonaventure just won its first ever Atlantic 10 championship, defeating the at-large-hopeful Xavier Musketeers. They will be going to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000.
The Bonnies' win may have just assured the A-10 (a surprising) four bids to the field of 68. Just a week ago, it was reasonable to assume Temple and St. Louis would have been the conference's only representatives. That extra berth, or two extra berths (if St. Louis and Xavier are both taken), obviously means one or two fewer spots for the Drexel Dragons, who failed to win the final game of the CAA tournament last Monday night and have been sitting squarely on the bubble all week.
Right around 1 p.m., just as Xavier and Bonaventure were tipping off the in A-10 title game, Joe Lunardi offered his final "Last Four Outs" and "First Four Ins." Clearly, he believes there to be a correlation between Drexel's chances and St. Bonaventure's autobid:
Fortunately for the Dragons, Lunardi isn't on the committee, nor is he the only authority in predicting the actions of those "in the room." The Inquirer's Mike Jensen, who Lunardi claims to have actually coined the term "bracketologist" years ago, is citing Stewart Mandel and Andy Glockner (both of Sports Illustrated fame) who "can't imagine Drexel in" and have them in "with a couple spots to spare," respectively. Moreover, we should clarify that there is no necessary correlation between Drexel and Bonaventure, i.e. the Bonnies could have eliminated really any bubble team, including Xavier.
As for Drexel's resume, the Dragons would have, by far, the lowest strength of schedule of any team to make the tournament. Still, it will make you wonder just what the polls are good for if the committee turns down a Top 30 team. The Dragons were ranked "28th" and "30th" in the most recent AP and coaches polls released Mar. 5.
You can do all the conjecturing you wish over the next couple hours (and probably hurt your head in the process), but we'll all find out about the Dragons (for better or for worse) some time between 6 and 7 p.m. this evening.
Moving on to the Temple Owls, they'll be waiting to see where they fall in the bracket and where they'll be heading later this week. Most projections have the Owls hovering as a fifth or sixth seed. This will be the Owls' fifth consecutive tournament bid. In their last four trips to the dance, they have been seeded no higher than fifth. There was talk just two weeks ago, before the SJU loss, that Temple was in line for a four, and possibly even a three, if they were to run the table. That obviously didn't happen.
And now, if we're to have our cake and eat it too, our official Selection Sunday wish list:
1. The Drexel Dragons make their first NCAA tournament since 1996.2. The Atlantic 10 gets its four bids anyway.3. And Xavier pops up as an 11 seed directly under #6 Cincinnati.
We came dream can't we?
Hey Drexel fans -- how you feeling right now?
St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt's postgame press conference: