ESPN has worked on a project since 2006 in which they've been trying to identify what makes a "giant killer" in the NCAA tournament. Every year it seems that we see a small school from a small league go on a Cinderella run much bigger and more talented schools in the tourney. But what do these teams have in common that could be identified ahead of time?
One of those common threads in recent years has been their membership in the Colonial Athletic Conference. Since 2006, the only conferences to send more teams to the Final Four are the Big East, Big 10 and ACC, all traditional college basketball mega powers. The CAA has sent more teams than the Pac-12 or Big-12.
You know the names. George Mason, VCU... These are some of the great Cinderellas in tournament history. This year, Drexel has won the regular season CAA crown and ESPN explains why they could be the next CAA giant killer.
Drexel is super-stingy on defense, minimizing opponents' possessions in two key areas. The Dragons allow offensive rebounds on just 26 percent of possessions per KenPom.com (sixth in the country) and hold teams to just 28.2 percent 3-point shooting (seventh), which means only 23.1 percent of foes' points come from beyond the arc. Though the Dragons play at a slow pace and don't force many turnovers, they add accurate 3-point shooting to the mix on offense (38.3 percent), which we like. If they were to shoot 3's more often (only 32 percent of their total attempts), we'd like them even more. But even without the model's full analysis, Drexel looks like a dangerous first-round foe.