“It feels like I have multiple sons up here,” Drake head coach Darian DeVries said after Drake defeated top-seed Bradley in the Missouri Valley championship game Sunday. “Obviously, having my own son, to be able to share this moment with him, and share it together is incredibly special.”
On Sunday afternoon, Drake clinched its second NCAA Tournament bid in the last three years with a dominant 77-51 win over the Braves to close out Arch Madness. Tucker DeVries, the coach's son, scored 22 points and led the way for the Bulldogs in a game that was never close.
DeVries was named both the tournament’s most outstanding player and the conference’s player of the year in the regular season.
Drake roared out to a 23-7 lead and led by 20 at halftime. They continued to pile upon the lead and to make sure they didn’t lose in the finals for the third consecutive year.
FIRE ME UP, GARRETT STURTZpic.twitter.com/O9ej1iVjAd— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) March 5, 2023
In the earlier rounds, the hungry Bulldogs earned a pair of double-digit victories. They defeated Murray State by 12 in the quarterfinals and Southern Illinois by 13 in the semis.
Its experience (28th oldest team) and minutes continuity (20th in the country) didn’t only show in the championship but throughout these last two months, really clicking on all cylinders. The Bulldogs won 10 straight during the regular season before falling at Bradley in the regular-season finale.
Drake has been efficient on both ends of the court and ranks in the top 100 of both offensive and defensive efficiency.
They Bulldogs are 27-7, which is the second-most wins in program history behind the 2008 squad that won 28 games and was a five seed in the Big Dance.
They’ll be a scary out for a four or five-seed in the NCAA Tournament this year. Drake is currently projected as a 12-seed in Joe Lunardi’s most recent Bracketology.