CAA coaches say 1 NCAA bid is not enough
RICHMOND, Va. (AP)
Drexel coach Bruiser Flint ignores talk the Colonial Athletic Association had a subpar year and will be a one-bid league when the NCAA selection committee's work is finished.
Once his top-seeded Dragons lost in the championship game on Monday night 59-56 to Virginia Commonwealth, Flint had a ready argument for why his team deserves a spot.
''We won 27 games. We lost in the championship. We won the regular season. I think our resume, our stuff, speaks for itself,'' Flint said after the Dragons' dramatic comeback fell short.
''What do you want me to say? Can we beat teams in the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, Big East? Of course we can,'' Flint said. ''No question about that. I think our league proves that every time we get into the NCAA tournament.
''Should we be in? You win 27 games - what do you want me to do? I won 19 in a row. What do you want me to do? If you can't get in with that, it's pretty hard. It's pretty hard.''
Drexel's school-record 19-game winning streak stretched to Jan. 2 and was the second-longest in the country, trailing only top-ranked Kentucky's 22-game roll. The Dragons has also won 25 of their past 27 games, and Flint and other coaches hope the league's NCAA history helps, too.
George Mason made mid-major history in the 2006 tournament when it won four times to reach the Final Four, and VCU did the Patriots one better last year, winning in the First Four and beating five BCS-level schools to give the league two Final Four teams in six years.
Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor's team beat Notre Dame as a No. 11 seed in the first round in 2010, and lost by two points to eventual national runner-up Butler in the first round last year. The CAA had a record three teams in the field last year, with George Mason beating Villanova in the first round before losing to Ohio State, and the Rams making their run as one of the last four teams in.
The politics, more than the results, favor schools from major conferences, Taylor said.
''The BCS schools, they really use the platform they're offered to get a lot of propaganda out there,'' he said. ''When you come down to it, I think it's been proven that there are more people than BCS people that can win big games, and I think in recent years, it's been more so.''
Taylor's team lost to Drexel in the semifinals this year.
CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said the league has worked with its selection committee representatives all season, keeping them apprised of the league's exploits, and gave them a final update after the title game Monday night. He said he thought the whole committee watched.
''I guess everything's in the oven waiting to be baked,'' he said.
Some coaches took umbrage at former George Mason coach Jim Larranaga's assertion late last month that it was a down year for the CAA and that the league might only deserve one bid.
Flint dismissed Larranaga's comments.
''He works for Miami. The guy's a coach in the ACC. He ain't in the CAA no more,'' Flint said. ''He's getting some nice money down there, so you know what he's saying? He's saying what he has to say. ... What do you think the guy's going to say? `Naw, let one of the mid-major guys go?'''
The Hurricanes (18-11), seeded sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, qualify as a bubble team, too, and Yeager said he'd be all for a Miami-Drexel matchup, even as one of the First Four.
''We know the way to Dayton,'' said, ''and we don't have any problem getting there.''
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