Iowans wishing to travel with the Drake men’s basketball team to their first game in the NCAA Tournament in 37 years will be driving or flying to Tampa, Florida. The Bulldogs play there on Friday against Western Kentucky.
Laine Korver of Pella is the mother of Drake guard Klayton Korver. She had hoped the team would be assigned to the Midwest Regional and play its first game in Omaha. But Laine says she’ll find her way to Tampa and hopes the Bulldog’s magical season will continue.
"They have a great coaching staff, a lot of really good guys on the team," Korver said. "There’s just a real feeling of community and a caring for each other, and how they play together is how they live together. They’re just a good group of kids and they’re fun to watch."
The nationally televised announcement of where and when Drake would play came in front of 3,000 fans Sunday at the Knapp Center in Des Moines. The crowd formed despite the absence of students, who are on spring break.
Fred Wilts of Ankeny says that’s one indication of what this year’s team has meant to the community. "I think everyone has just come together. A team like this comes along once in a lifetime. They play true basketball and that’s what’s fun to watch," Wilts said.
The tip-off time for Friday’s Drake game has yet to be announced.