The season hasn’t gone as the Drexel Dragons would have hoped for, as key injuries for a team that didn’t have the deepest rotation to begin with erased their hopes of repeating as CAA regular season champions.
But in a league like the CAA a tough season can be turned around in the conference tournament, and that will be the goal for Bruiser Flint’s team when they arrive in Richmond next weekend. Drexel (12-17, 8-9) hung on to win at Old Dominion on Thursday night, 81-77, with sophomore guard Damion Lee scoring a career-high 34 points and grabbing ten rebounds to lead the way.
Unfortunately for the Monarchs (4-25, 1-17) they won’t be able to play in next week’s CAA tournament, as a conference bylaw prohibits a school leaving the conference (ODU is moving to Conference USA as their football program makes the move to the FBS level) from competing in the conference tournament.
ODU plays its final basketball game as a CAA member on Saturday afternoon at regular season champion Northeastern, and the end can’t come soon enough for the Monarchs. Blaine Taylor was relieved of his duties as head coach a couple weeks ago, and the four wins are the fewest in a season since the 1943-44 campaign.
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Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.