Roman Penn Out For Season: Drake’s NCAA Tournament and MVC Chances Take Big Hit
David K Purdy/Getty Images. Pictured: Roman Penn, Drake
It wasn’t long ago the conversation surrounding Drake basketball was on an undefeated season. Following Monday’s news of Roman Penn’s season-ending injury, Drake might not even make the NCAA Tournament.
The school announced Penn, the team’s second-leading scorer, will miss the remainder of the season due to a left foot injury. Penn suffered the injury in Sunday’s win over Evansville in the second half. He’s set to undergo surgery.
Penn started all 24 of Drake’s games and averaged 11.2 points per game. His 5.5 assists per game was best in the Missouri Valley Conference.
It’s the second blow to Drake this season. Leading scorer ShanQuan Hemphill is out indefinitely after a foot surgery of his own.
What does this all mean for Drake? Our college basketball experts weigh in.
Mike Randle: The season-ending injury to junior guard Roman Penn is a crippling blow to Drake. The Bulldogs were already without leading-scorer ShanQuan Hemphill due to foot surgery, and now the loss of their point guard will dramatically affect their NCAA Tournament outlook.
Despite a robust 20-2 record, the Bulldogs are very much on the bubble conversation due to a lack of big wins. Their 51-50 OT win over Loyola Chicago was thought to be their saving grace in the eyes of the committee. The Bulldogs 257th SOS and 312th non-conference SOS placed even greater emphasis on a strong finish to the season.
With Monday’s game against Evansville, followed by two challenging road games at Bradley, the Bulldogs could conceivably add at least one more loss to their regular-season record. With the likelihood of a deep run in the Missouri Valley Conference all but gone, the loss of Penn could be the pin that breaks the Bulldogs NCAA Tournament bubble.
Stuckey: Congratulations to coach Porter Moser and the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, your 2021 Missouri Valley Conference tournament champions.
It’s just a lot for Drake to swallow after losing its leading scorer a few weeks ago in a guy who could get his own buckets when needed. Now losing the best point guard in the conference for my money? It’s hard to see anybody taking out Loyola in what looks like a one-bid league now.