The Drake men’s basketball team will play at the University of Idaho today at 9 p.m. in the opening round of the inaugural tournament. The tournament features 16 teams including Missouri Valley Conference opponents Bradley and Evansville.

The first three rounds will be played at on-campus sites, which are determined by seeding.  Drake was the Cinderella story last year, winning the Missouri Valley and making the NCAA tournament. Mark Phelps replaced Keno Davis as coach this season, and says playing in this tournament will help the Bulldogs.

Phelps says it’s important to continue the momentum of postseason play as Drake hasn’t had back-to-back postseason bids since making the NCAA Tournament from 1969-71. Phelps talks about Idaho.

Phelps says they have a terrific scorer at the point guard and are very well coached. He says they’ve had a number of close loses so their 16-15 record doesn’t tell the story about the quality of the team. Drake finished the season with a 17-15 record, and a first round loss in the Missouri Valley tournament. Phelps says they have some things to work on to advance in this tournament.

Phelps says they need to take care of the ball on offense and limit their turnovers. He says they also need to play defense like they did in their last five games. The quarterfinal round games of the Posteason Tournament will be played on March 23 with the semifinal round on March 25 and the championship on March 31.