Busting Brackets

Drake Basketball: Bulldogs with tall order in 1st round matchup with Washington State

Drake v Miami
Drake v Miami / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Drake is back in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season and they have a tall order. The Bulldogs play a Washington State team that is tall and blocks shots. Darian DeVries’ team has had some struggles with bigger teams and will have to solve that dilemma to advance in March Madness play. 

Drake (28-6) faces Washington State (24-9) at 9:05 pm on TruTV.

The Bulldogs have won five straight games and ten of their last eleven. Missouri Valley Conference player of the year Tucker DeVries averaged 21.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists. Washington State coach Kyle Smith says DeVries reminds him of two great NBA players. 

We would call him Baby Bird,” said Smith. “It’s almost like they’ve put together a little Dallas Mavericks with Luka. He averages 3.6 assists and he’s a really good scorer.”

Big man (6’10, 275 pounds) Darnell Brodie (11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds) will have to be at his very best to battle the big Cougar frontcourt of Isaac Jones, Jaylen Wells, Andrej Jakimovski and Oscar Cluff. All four players stand 6’8 or taller. 

Those four all average over seven points per game and grab more than four rebounds per contest. Jones is the Cougars’ leading scorer (15.4 ppg) and rebounder (7.4). 

The Cougars block nearly five shots per game and out rebound their foes by six caroms per contest. 

Drake’s Atin Wright (13.9 ppg) and Kevin Overton (11.4) are other double digit scorers, but point guard Conor Enright is the team’s spark plug, scoring big baskets, running the highly efficient offense and getting under the skin of the opposition. 

Coach DeVries has put together and amazing 150-54 record in six years at Drake. His teams have won at least 20 games all six seasons and at least 25 for the past four. This is Drake’s third NCAA Tournament appearance in the past four seasons. 

Top 20 players in East Region of NCAAT. dark. Next. Top 20 players in East Region of NCAAT

The Bulldogs won a ‘first four’ game in 2021 and then lost ‘first-round’ games that season and last year. Seventh-seeded Washington State enters the ‘Big Dance’ for the first time since 2008.