An Undressing

An Undressing

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archiearkyThe words “pressure defense” have always caused chills to go up the spines of Dayton fans. And for good reason. The Flyers have historically struggled against teams that pressure them over ninety-four feet, and today was certainly no different. Arkansas controlled every aspect of today’s game, dominating from the jump and coasting to a 69-55 victory over Gem City. The loss drops UD to 7-2 on the season, with Boston U, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss the lasting remnants of Dayton’s non-conference schedule. 

In an odd way, pressure kind of plays into UD’s perceived strengths. For instance, if I’m scouting UD — I want the ball to stay in Scoochie Smith’s hands as much as possible. Arkansas’ pressure D ensured that the ball was quickly out of the hands of UD’s guards, and oftentimes led to decent looks on the other end. 

The problem, for Dayton, is that the floor opened up around the perimeter, particular at the corners, where the Flyers (still shooting just 27% from three-point land on the season) camped out for shots. That being said, UD lacks the perimeter ability to beat teams like Arkansas. The Razorbacks were happy to pack it in defensively and watch the Flyers bomb away from outside. 

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Whenever UD broke the press, the possession usually culminated with a quick missed three or a contested shot at the rim. Good odds for Arkansas. It was much of the same when Dayton got into their half-court sets. Arkansas’ big boys all but dared Scott and Robinson to go to the rim. The Razorback defense basically conceded open three-point shots (and why wouldn’t they?), and Dayton rewarded them, shooting 5-of-18 from behind the arc. In short, UD simply couldn’t get enough good looks to keep up with Arkansas. 

Defensively the Flyers were just fine, particularly in the second half, as Arkansas seemingly connected on every contested mid-range shot they attempted. The Razorbacks came into today’s contest as one of the elite offensive teams in the nation, averaging around 85 points per game. UD held them to 69 points. Considering the second-chance opportunities the Razorbacks got off of offensive-rebounds, that’s a sold performance from Dayton’s defense. 

UD excelling at the spin game

UD excelling at the spin game

The good news? There isn’t a team as talented as Arkansas in the Atlantic Ten (there might not be a team as talented as Arkansas State in the Atlantic Ten). UD’s focus is always squarely on excelling once the calendar turns to January. Today was a tough lesson, but a lesson nonetheless. If UD can become a more consistent offensive team, the Flyers will have no issues when it comes to conference play. This team doesn’t really have an identity yet, hopefully it can find one in the coming weeks. 

 

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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.

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