Like a black guy probably said before the Rolling Stones stole it, you can’t always get what you want. It would have been nice to faceoff against Notre Dame tonight, but the Lord above had different ideas. ND’s loss to Monmouth means UD’s path to the Advocare Invitational championship got a little bit easier and the anticipated matchup against Our Overlords is that much closer (and, yes, I realize the fact that Monmouth beat Notre Dame means they are just as capable of beating UD as the Irish are — but I’m talking about the sexy factor here, people).
Anyone who has followed the program for any amount of time undoubtedly knows about the rivalry with Xavier. It’s southwest Ohio’s version of the cola wars. However, I’m not sure how much of an impact it will have on either group should they meet on Sunday. No player on either roster has ever faced off against their supposed rival and none of the major players from either team hails from Ohio, where they might have had an opportunity to grow up around the bitterness and socially unbecoming behavior that fuels the contentious relationship between the two schools.
You can’t just line up a team across from another and tell them they are each other’s sworn enemies. It takes years of acrimony and embarrasing fan decorum for hate to truly take root. Xavier’s kids look forward to battling Butler, Dayton’s current crop of players stay up at night before taking on Saint Louis and grew up dreaming of one day hoisting the Arch-Baron Cup. It would be a hard sell by either coach to convince their squads that the Xavier/Dayton game is somehow more vital than all of the other games on their schedule, the rivalry simply lost that luster.
The only people that will go into the potential game with blood on their minds will be the drunken louts in the stands. Citizens from the same tax bracket yelling atrocious comments back and forth to each other. That’s where the real war will be. The tension won’t be on the court, it will be in the bleachers. If there aren’t reports of children crying before, during and after the game due to the unseemly comportment of the adults around them, well, sir, I think the rivalry might be dead.
But first, Monmouth.
Monmouth, as you well know by now, is coming off an upset of Notre Dame. The Owls are already a tested bunch, having gone out to the best coast to play UCLA, stunning the Bruins in their opener, and Southern Cal, dropping 90 on the Trojans in a losing effort. Monmouth is currently 3-1, riding high and won’t be easily intimidated by the likes of Dayton.
Be prepared to hear the announcing crew gush over head coach King Rice, as the former North Carolina point-guard is the soup de jour in college coaching circles. Rice led the program to its first winning season in almost a decade last year, and should compete for the MAAC title this year. His team employs a fast-paced offense and a defense that seemingly can’t wait to let the opposition score, it’s sadomasochistic in some respects, definetely not the type of defense you should let impressionable children view.
Monmouth returns three starters from last season’s crew, added a transfer from Oklahoma and three freshmen who are 6’7″ or taller. It is not your typical low-major team. They have size, kids who can knock down shots from the perimeter and a ubiquitous chip on their shoulder. The Owls will come into tonight’s game not only looking to knock of the Flyers, but expecting a victory. If you have ever sat next to a chain-smoking Asian woman at a blackjack table, you know there’s nothing scarier than someone playing with house money (this, I am told, being Archie’s favorite analogy before games against lower-tier teams).
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Justin Robinson is the undisputed star of the team. The diminuative point-guard can get to the hoop with ease, has the ability to knock down shots from outside and is a nasty guy on defense. He is like a gnat crawling around the underside of your balls, annoyingly erotic and hard to get rid of. Je’lon Hornbeck, a transfer from Oklahoma, is Robinson’s running mate in the backcourt. Hornbeck was a starter at OU as a fresman, came off the bench as a sophomore and as a result said fuck this I’m going to a random school in New Jersey. That’s the type of action that should stike fear into your heart, give Mr. Hornbeck a wide berth.
Micah Seaborn attended Prime Prep, Deion Sander’s old charter school in Texas, before enrolling at Monmouth. Shockingly, the NCAA did not approve some of Seaborn’s course work and he spent last season out of pocket, working on his academic pursuits. The fact that the NCAA didn’t accept Seaborn’s credits in “Ghost Riding” and “Mink Coat Maintenance” proves what a corrupt organization it is. Shameful, NCAA, just shameful. Deon Jones is a third team All-MAAC player, an undersized garbage man you’ll typically see at the four spot in low-major programs. Chris Brady is the Owls’ big man, he goes 6’10” and is in a word, serviceable.
Collin Stewart? Yup, he’s a white guy that shoots three-pointers, good guess. Josh Jones gets significant minutes off the bench, yet probably won’t be much of a factor against UD. Diago Quinn is a freshman still trying to figure out how to quickly masturbate in the shower so his roommate doesn’t get suspicious. Hang in there, Diago, you’ll get the hang of it.
Quick turnaround, so a little short on Monmouth. Flyers should have a field day on the offensive glass. Monmouth is 320th in Offensive Rebounding percentage while on defense. Dayton is by no means huge on the offensive glass but remains a respectable 70th in the nation.
The Flyers turnover percentage? Not so much. TO% is down to 331st, turning it over on 23.5% of their possessions. Have to get that cleaned up.
Although Monmouth isn’t a team to take lightly, especially given their resume, the Flyers will come out a bit sluggish after escaping last night against Iowa. Expect the Owls to give as good as they get tonight before UD makes a run and puts the game on ice in the second half. Dayton wins, 81-71, and meet Xavier in the championship game on Sunday.
Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.