Dayton’s victory over VCU this weekend takes a bit of the luster off of tomorrow night’s matchup with Rhode Island. In all likelihood, the Flyers needed just a split with VCU and URI to feel comfortable going into the A10 tournament next week. With the Rams from Richmond already disposed of, a win over the Rams of Kingston is less of a necessity, more of a luxury.
It’s an odd situation to be in as a Flyer Fan, even with the unprecedented success we all witnessed just a year ago. David Jablonski, one of the good guys, quoted long-time suffering UD fan Matt Hager’s (@DaMattHook) tweet in one of his articles on Sunday morning:
“It’s a new era,” UD fan Matt Hager wrote. “Road wins. Not folding under pressure. Selection Sundays without nerves.”
I’m going to assume these are the exact thoughts the majority of FlyerNation have echoing through their skulls at the moment. We have experienced a bizarro season, where nothing went as planned, and yet, for the first time since the 2003-04 season, CagerBackers™ won’t be sweating Selection Sunday (this is assuming nothing completely fucked up happens between now and March 15th — as any Dayton fan can attest to, this can run the gamut, from a sexual assault investigation, a domestic violence arrest, a predawn robbery or maybe even a simple run of the mill injury — not to be confused with an “injury” that occurs after you fail too many classes).
Going forward, the prime concern is UD aligning its’ resume with the best seeding possible. If last season’s tournament run taught us anything, besides the enigmatic joy that teenaged boys can bring, it’s that seeding is almost as crucial to tournament success as staying hydrated. For instance, if UD was seeded tenth last year in the South Region, they would have ended up facing a tough New Mexico squad, with Kansas waiting in the wings as the two seed. If the Flyers ended up in the 8/9 game last season, Florida would have awaited UD, and I think we know how that likely would have turned out. Instead, Gem City was awarded a palatable matchup with Ohio State, and had a faceoff with an offensively challenged Syracuse if/when they took down the Buckeyes. A fortunate set of circumstances that led to UD’s run to the Elite Eight.
So, at the risk of sounding cocksure, it’s time to start thinking about UD’s potential seeding. This is all I know — the Flyers will be well served avoiding the 8/9 seed at all costs. The question is, how does UD avoid that fate? What combination of wins/losses would lock up a 6/7/10/11 seed for your Flyers? I have absolutely no color to add to this discussion, as there are too many moving parts to even begin a suitable discussion, just wanted to randomly throw the question out there. (Another query: would you be okay with UD being a 8/9 if that meant they would play Xavier in the first round?)
Shifting gears, if anyone in Beaver County can get their paws on some of these cups…let a brother know.
— Chris Bradford (@BCTBradford) February 28, 2015
These cups are fire, you just add water to boil Ramen in them.
[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Overview[/title]
Rhody is looking for a few more victories to bolster their NCAA Tournament chances, as the Rams don’t have a win that would even come close to impressing the selection committee — in fact, a win on the road against the Flyers would easily be URI’s best win to date. URI comes into tomorrow’s game with a 20-7 record, tied for first place in the A10 with Dayton and Davidson. Rhode Island fans face a similar dilemma that UD fans do, they feel like their team is pretty good but there’s no empirical way to prove it.
Here’s what we do know about Rhody: they are an imposing team defensively. They are holding their opponents to just 58.5 points per game, allowing a ridiculous .87 points per possession. Not many teams defend the three-point line as well as URI, which will certainly a factor against a team as trey-reliant as Dayton. The Rams are not a dangerous team offensively, they win games by slugging it out down low and getting to the foul-line. If you allow Rhode Island to score in the mid-sixties, there’s a very good chance you aren’t winning the ballgame.
Rookie of the Year a season ago, going to be a headache the next couple of years.
Big load inside, one of the nation’s best shot blockers.
Backup option for Danny Hurley, a liability from the perimeter.
The Rutgers transfer had a solid junior year for the Rams, not being utilized as much this season.
[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Numbers Game[/title]
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[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Prediction[/title]
A UD win against Rhody results in a perfect 16-0 at home this season. There’s no way Wehrli lets up now, Flyers win, 69-63.