Mar 22, 2024 - News

Drexel faces long odds against top-seeded Texas

Illustration of a basketball with a bracket pattern

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Statisticians worked it out, and the odds of picking a perfect bracket are 1 in 147 quintillion — that's a 1 followed by 18 zeros for those of us bad at math.

  • Considering those odds, the No. 16 seed Drexel Dragons have a decent shot of knocking off top-seeded Texas on its home floor today in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament.

Why it matters: Philadelphia is all-in on the Dragons, the region's lone March Madness representative.

The big picture: Sixteen-seed upsets are rare, but they've happened a couple of times on the men's side, most recently last year when Farleigh Dickinson stunned Purdue.

  • Top-ranked women's teams win 99% of the time.
  • The last women's No. 16 team to knock off a No. 1 seed? Harvard beat Stanford in 1998.

Yes, but: Drexel, making its third tournament appearance, shouldn't be underestimated.

  • The Dragons punched their ticket to the Big Dance by winning four games in four days, including three by a combined five points, capped by a stunning upset of Stony Brook in the Coastal Athletic Association final.
  • They've won seven straight games dating back to the regular season and at least 20 games in six of the last seven seasons. If they upset Texas, they can earn their 20th win of the year.

What they're saying: "You're almost exhausted, but you're so happy because you're just like, 'This just happened,'" Drexel head coach Amy Mallon told Audacy about their run.

The matchup: Texas' high-octane offense is led by Madison Booker, who scores nearly 17 points a game.

  • The Longhorns won 30 games this season, including the Big 12 tournament crown, and were victorious in 12 of their last 13 games.
  • They're 30-4 when scoring more than 56 points, per ESPN.

Reality check: That's the magic number for a Drexel upset since the team has held opponents to an average of fewer than 55 points a game this season.

  • Drexel is led by guards Amaris Baker (11.8 points per game) and Brooke Mullin (10.3 ppg), the niece of NBA Hall of Famer Chris Mullin.

The bottom line: In the city of underdogs, everyone is rooting for Drexel to play spoiler. Screw those perfect brackets.

If you watch: Tipoff is at 3pm on ESPNU.

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