Ok, guys, we are going to have to lay a foundation for the rest of the season. Two quick things before we continue:
(1) You’ll have to have a sense of humor about this UD team or else you’re not gonna have a good time. It’s that simple. Even if you had realistic expectations coming into this season, temper them down even more. There’s a lot of youth out there, a head coach who spent the last two years picking up Billy Donovan’s laundry and a complete lack of a go-to player. Every win will be a blessing and a reason to celebrate. There will be plenty of bad and plenty of good this year, you just have to remain as optimistic as possible.
(2) Anthony Grant will never be accused of out-coaching anyone. We all knew what we signed up for when Grant was named as Archie Miller’s replacement, there’s no use in hoping AG will morph into an elite coach over the next few seasons. I could write a 1500 word screed just breaking down Grant’s maneuvering during last two minutes of the Hofstra game, but there’ll be plenty of opportunities to pick apart his shortcomings as an in-game coach as the season progresses, trust me.
Let’s look ahead, there’s no other choice. If you’re still feeling down, remember — this team should probably be 0-2 right now.
Ohio lost in their first Charleston Classic matchup to Clemson, 81-76. The Bobcats opened up their season with a eight-point win over Alabama A&M. The Fighting Jablonskis return three starters from last season’s 20-11 team and were picked to finish third in the MAC East during the preseason.
The Flyers are in luck, as Ohio, like Dayton, only goes about eight players deep. OU is a decent defensive team, holding opponents to 45% shooting and forcing a turnover on 23% of possessions. Guarding the perimeter is a priority for Coach Saul Phillips’ squad, teams are hitting just 27% of their three-point attempts against the Bobcats. The ‘Cats forwards are a bit hack crazy and they give up way too many offensive rebounds for my liking.
The Bobcats’ backcourt is paced by junior Jordan Dartis and freshman Teyvion Kirk. Dartis (12.0 ppg/3.0 rpg/3.0 apg) led the MAC in three-point shooting as a freshman, connecting on 48% of his attempts from behind the arc. He knocked down 41% of his three-point attempts last season. What I’m trying to say is you leave Dartis alone at your own peril. He’s currently shooting 33% from deep through two games while averaging a solid 3:1 assist-to-turnover average. The biggest question facing OU coming into this season was how to plug the seemingly unfillable hole left behind by Jaaron Simmons’ transfer to Michigan. Kirk (13.0 ppg/4.0 apg/3.0 rpg) has assumed the position, racking up thirty minutes a game as Ohio’s point-guard. Kirk is extremely quick, can get to the basket with ease, yet is a work in progress offensively.
Gavin Block (17.0 ppg/9.5 rpg/44% 3fg) is the team’s leading scorer. Head coach Saul Phillips had a next-level quote regarding Block’s ability:
“Block is position-less. He plays anywhere from the one to the four. He’s like the rug in The Big Lebowski — he makes the whole room come together.”
Block put up 24 points against Clemson, hitting six of his twelve shots from downtown. At just 6-5, Mike Laster (10.5 ppg/2.0 apg) is essentially the ‘Cats power-forward. Laster drifts outside and prefers to get off threes rolling away from the ball handler. Although he is struggling from outside through the team’s first pair of games, he knocked down 45% of his three-point attempts last year. 6’9″ junior Doug Taylor (3.0 ppg/6.5 rpg) rounds out the Bobcats’ starting lineup. Taylor is a rough-and-tumble player, primarily tasked with bumping and grinding down low.
Kevin Mickle and James Gallon are Ohio’s top reserves. Mickle (10.0 ppg/2.5 rpg) is a grad-transfer from Florida Gulf Coast, a 6’7″-220 lb forward with freak athleticism. Gallon is a 6’5″ guard that sat out last season with hip and shoulder issues, he has been awful so far this season.
Dayton likely catches a break as Ohio’s best offensive player, 6’8″ sophomore forward Jason Carter, injured his foot in an exhibition against Capital University two weeks ago and has been wearing a protective boot. He missed the Clemson game is as extremely doubtful to suit up against Dayton.
- My God, Matej Svoboda is a fucking liability on defense. Grant tried to hide him in a zone as best he could, but it was no use, the Czech is a defensive nightmare. He has slower feet than Mike Utley (woof, I hurt myself stretching for that one).
- From what I heard, UD Santa was in the building, yet he never got screen time. Put that up in the negative column for the Flyers.
- Grant should have red-shirted Jordan Pierce.
- Four seasons ago Dayton was playing Florida for a trip to the Final Four. Last night Flyer fans were convinced the refs stole a game against Hofstra. Time is a motherfucker, folks.
- Tweet of the Night:
X man has lunch lady hair.
— Adam (@adam_gutheil) November 17, 2017
I feel pretty good about this one, guys. It looks like a nice matchup for the good guys. Without Carter, Ohio is missing their primary offensive player, a kid who can stretch the floor from the perimeter and crash the boards with impunity. Without his presence, the Bobcats are predictable and thin from a depth point-of-view. OU certainly doesn’t rebound like Hofstra and they don’t shoot the ball as well as Ball State. Dayton gets a fairly easy victory out of this one, 77-68. Dayton takes on Indiana State in the fifth-place game Sunday afternoon.
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.