Drake-Northern Iowa: Panthers Put Abrupt Halt on Bulldogs' Season

Tim WeidemanAnalyst IMarch 7, 2010

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 21:  Jonathan Cox #31 of the Drake Bulldogs walks off the court after his team lost in overtime to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers during the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament West Regional at the St. Pete Times Forum on March 21, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

For Josh Young, Adam Templeton, Craig Stanley, and Bill Eaddy, the season is over. 

Obviously, none of them wanted to go out with a loss in the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament to Northern Iowa. 

But what's supposed to happen when the team goes 20 minutes and 59 seconds without scoring a field goal?

Against Northern Iowaand any other team for that matterit's a certain loss.

Drake's 55-40 defeat at the hand of the eventual MVC Champs was as ugly as it gets. 

Would you believe they led going into the half, 24-23? Granted, Northern Iowa had just ran off 10 straight points.

Drake shot 16.7 percent and scored only 16 points in the second half.

What did you expect with those statistics?

I suppose it's a good thing this season is over; it was getting frustrating to watch. I feel for the seniors, though—they deserved much better.

Drake would have loved to send out Young, quite possibly the best player in Drake history, and Templeton with a dazzling Cinderella run, but warm and fuzzy happy endings like that don't happen as often as we would like. 

Otherwise, I'd have a better post to write.

For Templeton, well, at least he can take his MVC Most Improved team selection home as a highlight of his senior year. But I doubt it's quite what he would have preferred. 


Too Early for a Preview

Yet it's all over. That was it.

The team's focus turns to next year.

It's time to work out the kinks that caused this year's growing pains. 

The recruiting class will help, but the big question for next year is how the loss of the seniors will hurt the Bulldogs. 

Drake will miss Young and Templeton's offensive outputs. Young led the team with 14.4 PPG and Templeton was third with 9.8. Templeton's defensive presence as the Bulldogs' leading rebounder (7.4 per game) will also be missed.

However, consistency was something that no Bulldog didn't struggle with, including Young and Templeton. If Drake's young guns can step up and the 2010-11 newcomers play to their reputation , the growing pains may lessen.

Just don't expect them to disappear entirely.

At this point, a .500 record for next year is a prediction on the optimistic end. 

Just note: that's not my prediction.

Drake will have an even younger team next season, with guard Ryan Wedel being the only senior. 

One thing is for sure: the Bulldogs will debut a lot of new faces again next season. 

While that may not translate to a winning record next year, it could be encouraging for the near future.