Missouri Valley Conference (28-4, 15-3)
Big Wins: 2/5 at Illinois State (73-70), 2/23 at Butler (71-64), 3/9 vs Illinois State (67-41)
Bad Losses: 2/13 at Southern Illinois (62-65), 2/19 Bradley (71-72), 2/26 at Missouri State (83-86)
Last NCAA Appearance: 1971, Elite Eight loss to Kansas
Coach: Keno Davis (First NCAA appearances)
Adam Emmenecker, Senior, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 6.2 apg, 1.6 spg
Josh Young, Sophomore, Guard, 15.8 ppg, 1.8 apg, 1.3 spg
Leonard Houston, Senior, Guard, 14.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.4 spg
Klayton Korver, Senior, Forward, 10.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Jonathan Cox, Junior, Forward, 11.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Jacob Baryenbruch, Junior, Guard, 2.2 ppg
John Michael Hall, Junior, Guard, 3.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg
Brent Heemskerk, Junior, Forward, 4.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
The old adage says you live by the three and die by the three. Drake adheres to that, but they have done a lot more living than dying this season. The team hits over nine long balls per game and everybody in the starting five besides the point guard is a deep threat. And it all starts with Josh Young. The sophomore showed promise last season, but this year he has become the go-to-scorer. Young hits about three shots from beyond the arc per game, but he will also be very aggressive getting to the basket.
Leonard Houston is on the other wing and he will do a little bit of everything. Up front, Klayton Korver and Jonathan Cox spread out the defense with their shooting ability. Korver might take a few too many three’s, but that is what he does. Cox is the more dynamic interior player, yet he still hits over one long ball per game and shoots over 42 percent from behind the arc.
Why They Can Disappoint:
With the big guys being perimeter threats, it can cause some problems on the defensive end. Cox is a great rebounder and has decent size at 6-8 and 225 pounds, but he is not much of a threat to block shots and certainly does not get help in that department from Korver. That allows the opposition to work the ball inside and get some easy buckets. The perimeter defense is solid and Cox and Korver are not bad defenders, but once the ball gets inside, there is not much that can be done when facing bigger, stronger post players. Because of that the opposition shoots over 43 percent against the Bulldogs.
Who To Watch:
Adam Emmenecker came out of nowhere to become a great floor leader. The 6-1 senior dishes out six assists per game and has a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio. Emmenecker has not let his, or his teams, new found success change his game. He is a smart player who finds the scorers on his team instead of trying to score himself. Emmenecker will very rarely take a three-pointer, but he will use his quickness to get to the basket for easy buckets or trips to the charity stripe.
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