Butler, Gonzaga and Davidson are small schools that have succeeded on college basketball's biggest stage.
First-year coach Ray Giacoletti wants to put Drake in that same category.
Giacoletti, who spent the last six years as a Gonzaga assistant, will try to take the first steps in that direction with a team that has a vastly different look from the group that went 15-17 last season under Mark Phelps, who was fired after five years of mediocre results.
Along with a new staff, the Bulldogs have three transfers, two freshmen and two players back in action after missing last season. Of the six returnees, only two were starters: 6-foot-11 Seth VanDeest, who has battled shoulder and knee injuries throughout his career, and point guard Richard Carter.