After finishing third in the Missouri Valley Conference in the regular season, Drake fell short in the MVC tournament and advanced to the CBI tournament.

The countdown is officially on. For the second straight year, CBB Review has ranked the top 100 teams in college basketball heading into next season. We will reveal the next team daily until we get to number one. The Drake Bulldogs are our 59th-ranked team.

The Bulldogs will rely on experience this season as they try to win the Missouri Valley for the first time since 2008. Drake has four seniors in their projected starting five and five returning double-digit scorers from a season ago. Darian DeVries has the most experienced team in the country, and Drake will need its tenured guys to step up in their final years. Drake only lost one double-digit scorer last season, so most players from the 25-11 team from 2021 remain on the roster.

To those who have not, click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams in the 2022-2023 college basketball season.

Head Coach: Darian DeVries (5th year)

2021-2022 Record: 25-11 (13-5)

2022 Postseason Finish: Went to Roman CBI

Notable Departures: Tremell Murphy (Graduate), ShanQuan Hemphill (Graduate), Ayo Akinwole (Graduate), Jonah Jackson (Graduate)

Projected Rotation:

PG: Roman Penn (6’0, 185, Sr.)

2021-2022 stats: 11.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 44.3 FG%

SG: D.J. Wilkins (6’2, 182, Sr.)

2021-2022 stats: 10.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 41.8 FG%, 39.0 3P%

SF: Garrett Sturtz (6’3, 175, Sr.)

2021-2022 stats: 11.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 steals, 58.6 FG%

PF: Tucker DeVries (6’7, 210, So.)

2021-2022 stats: 13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks, 41.6 FG%, 33.9 3P%

C: Darnell Brodie (6’10, 275, Sr.)

2021-2022 stats: 5.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 49.2 FG%

6: Eric Northweather (6’9, 180, Jr.)

2021-2022 stats: 10.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 59.7 FG% (Truman State)

7: Issa Samake (6’8, 210, RS-Jr.)

2020-2021 stats: 2.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.2 assist, 0.5 blocks 60.0 FG%

8: Sardaar Calhoun (6’6, 220, Sr.)

Career stats: 4.9 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 34.8 FG%, 33.3 3P% (Texas Tech)

9: Okay, Djamgouz (6’5, 190, Jr.)

2021-2022 stats: 4.2 points, 0.6rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.1 steals, 45.5 FG%, 48.0 3P%

10: Nate Ferguson (6’8, 210, RS-Jr.)

2021-2022 stats: 1.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.4 blocks, 56.3 FG%

Team MVP: Tucker DeVries

Being forced into a dominant role, Tucker DeVries stepped up to the challenge. With a year under his belt, I think he has proven himself quite the commodity as he led Drake Bulldogs in points per game. He is a balanced player, can shoot the 3-pointer, and plays unselfishly.

Make-or-Break-Player: Roman Penn

Roman Penn’s return is a massive part of this team. His leadership and ability to see the floor and create shots are vital to this Drake team. Last year, Penn was All-MVC third team. Wanting to build off of that, he led the team in assists. Penn has hopefully been working on 3-pointers to help boost this team’s offensive ability. While he can shoot the ball well inside the arc, expanding his game would be massive for this team.

Analytic to Know:

The Bulldogs are not a team to rely on the three-point shot to win games. Drake made only 6.6 threes per contest in 2021, shooting just above 33% from beyond the arc. Conversely, the Bulldogs converted 45% of their shots from the field, meaning most of their production comes from the paint and midrange. In an era in college basketball where games are won and lost from the bonus sphere, Drake needs to stick to its guns and score inside the arc to win.

Team Outlook

Drake is the favorite to win the MVC, a feat they have not done since 2008. They have the most experience in the league and should wear down opponents looking for a good shot inside the arc.

Drake has a pretty moderate-conference schedule, playing just one Power 5 school in Mississippi State on  December 20. Other than that, the Bulldogs’ premier matchup comes against Wofford on November 14.

Drake is in a great position. With a light but not overly enonconferenceence schedule, Drake will be ready to take the MVC right from the jump. Especially with the departure of Loyola-Chicago, it is Drake’s league to lose.

Projected Conference Finish: 1st in the Missouri Valley Conference

Projected Postseason Finish: NCAA Appearance

Ceiling: Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament