Calipari irked by NCAA tourney's snub of Drexel

Inquirer Staff Writer

For one more day, Drexel's exclusion in the NCAA tournament dominated conversation around water coolers, basketball offices, and anywhere else people have more than a passing interest in March Madness.

Some, such as Kentucky coach John Calipari, didn't hide their anger. Calipari is a longtime close friend with Drexel coach Bruiser Flint. Flint was Calipari's assistant at the University of Massachusetts and then replaced him as head coach, and the two talk almost every day.

"I don't know how Iona gets in instead of Drexel," Calipari said, referring to Drexel being left out of the 68-team NCAA field. "I was really disappointed."

Iona was perceived to be the team that beat out Drexel and the other contenders, but more than one NCAA official has said in subsequent interviews that it wasn't the case.

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Still, for fans of teams that didn't get in, they use Iona as the example of a flawed system.

Calipari seemed to take Drexel's exclusion as hard as any diehard Dragons fan.

"That team came together and did everything you are supposed to do," Calipari said. "I thought the St. Bonaventure game really hurt them."

The NCAA selection committee said on Sunday evening that the first six teams left out, in no particular order, were Drexel, Miami, Mississippi State, Nevada, Oral Roberts and Seton Hall.

One of the six would have been in had St. Bonaventure not won the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament, thus earning the league's fourth spot.

Calipari said he talked to Flint on Sunday night.

"I am disappointed because they deserved it, the program deserved it, and I hope they have a great run in the NIT," Calipari said.

 


Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com, 856-779-3225 or @sjnard on Twitter. Find the Drexel blog at www.philly.com/dragonball

 

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