Underdog-Logo-with-Cornelius-march-20151-300x248It’s time to get greedy, toss your mid-major aspersions aside. With your Flyers currently ranked 17th/19th in the nation, in February mind you, postseason expectations can be fairly measured. 

Obviously, we all flock to bracket projections like flies to shit and the latest mockups have been encouraging to say the least. The majority of the projections have UD slotted anywhere from a four to a six seed, high times indeed. So go ahead and monitor the teams ahead of Dayton in the polls, anticipating losses. It’s okay. 

Of course a major component in all of this is Dayton’s continual winning. If you don’t think a few losses over the next few weeks will cause UD to slip drastically from voter’s minds, you haven’t been doing your homework. Essentially what I’m saying is to stay woke. The Flyers are the plucky little team that could and the big boys don’t want them disrupting their lemon party. To be the pest, you gotta upset the rest. 

Duquesne is in the building tonight, Flyers have to do them dirty.

Overview

Duquesne was on a bit of a streak before losing this weekend against Davidson, having won three games in row and five of their last six. Granted they beat up on some of the fat in the league (Saint Louis twice, La Salle, Bonnies, Mason) and took a twenty-two point thumping at the hands of VCU. But winning the games you should, as Flyer fans surely know, is half the battle in the Atlantic Ten. The Dukes are evidence that 20 wins in a college basketball don’t necessarily indicate success anymore, as Jim Ferry’s squad, currently 15-8, have a sporting chance of locking up twenty wins this year.  

We already know what to expect from Duquesne, they play at one of the highest tempos in the country, pushing the ball and getting shots off quickly from the perimeter. Unfortunately the Dukes couldn’t buy a bucket against Dayton in the beginning of January. Duquesne hit just two of their twelve three-point attempts and shot a scant 38% from the floor.MasonOn the positive side, Duquesne’s pace was an issue for the Flyers defensively as the Dukes got to the charity stripe twenty-eight times, fouling out Kyle Davis and Big Steve in the process. Two things must be true for Duquesne to pull off the upset tonight – Ferry’s club has to outrebound UD and knock down threes. Duquesne is 13-1 when outrebounding their opponents and have gone 9-1 in games where they connected on at least ten three-pointers. If the Dukes aren’t capitalizing on these two particularly aspects of the game, it may be a long night for them.  

Duquesne is holding opponents to a scanty 40.7% shooting, good enough for fifth in the nation. The Dukes are particularly adept at guarding the arc and challenging shots from deep, their opposition is currently getting a meager 37% of their points from behind the three-point line. Dayton went just 3-of-25 against Duquesne in Pittsburgh and I’m assuming that Archie will employ a similar game plan as he did against La Salle, deemphasizing the three-point shot and getting the ball down low early.Hatefull8background

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Micah Mason didn’t make it on to the court the last time the Dukes squared up with Dayton, but my man is back and looking to shoot. As I’m sure you already heard on this week’s podcast, Mason is the type of player that can go off and keep a mediocre team in a game with a TOP TWENTY squad like UD. Mason is one of the nation’s most efficient scorers, checking in with an impressive offensive rating of 122.4 (points per 100 possessions).  

Starting alongside Mason in the Dukes backcourt is Derrick Colter. This will be Colter’s last trip to the Decibel Dungeon; he has been a pain in the league’s ass since his freshman season. Colter has scored in double-digits in every game except one this season (it was against Brian Gregory’s Yellow Jackets, for what it’s worth), and is a heavy usage guard – accounting for around 27% of the team’s possessions.

20160102ppdukebball1sptsEric James, L.G. Gill and Darius Lewis form the Dukes frontcourt. Gill continues to have a pseudo-breakout season for Duquesne. The rangy forward crashes the glass, can take his opponent outside and shoot 80% from the free-throw. He has begun to look for his shot more as the season draws to a close for the Dukes. James is a big wing from Ohio who I’m sure is related to LeBron is some fashion. He’s an inconsistent offensive player who struggled guarding Charles Cooke the first time around. Lewis is a 6’11” true center that plays for Duquesne, so there you go. 

Off the bench, TySean Powell, Mar’Qywell Jackson and Nakye Sanders are Duquesne’s go-to guys. Powell played well against the Flyers back in January, scoring eight points and grabbing six rebounds. Jackson? I have no idea how you pronounce his name. Mar-kai-well? Mar-q-well? What a disaster. Sanders has one of those hi-top fade haircuts, which isn’t a look we see enough from the African-American community these days. 

Nate’s Numbers

three-goggles-printsTo be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I wrote about Duquesne last time. These games are really starting to run together. Can we just jump ahead? Duquesne shoots a lot of threes, but didn’t in the first matchup. They went 1 of 12 from behind the arc, only firing threes on 23% of their possessions rather than a typical 40%+. Dayton shot just as bad.  They fired up 25 only converting 3, but dominated inside.

Duquesne’s zone induces many three point tries, as only three other teams allow their opponents to shoot as many threes as Duquesne. I would expect the Flyers to still fire a decent amount from long range, but convert at a higher percentage while in the friendly confines of UD Arena. I hope, and think, the Flyers should maintain a double-digit lead throughout the contest.

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Prediction

Dayton has so much to play for at this point of the season it is kind of unsettling. I’m obviously more concerned about the game at Rhode Island later this week but I don’t sense this particular team will get caught looking ahead. UD controls the game throughout, breaking away from Duquesne midway through the second-half. Flyers 72, Dukes 63. Charles Cooke leads all scorers with 22 and Big Steve miraculously recovers from his…illness.