IPFW came into Dayton missing its best player and was a twenty-second meltdown away from leaving the Gem City with a well-earned victory. Here’s the positive spin — for all of the talk regarding UD’s horrible non-conference schedule, maybe, just maybe, the ticket-holders will be rewarded with exciting ballgames against minnows of the college basketball world all winter long. The Sweaters may finally, finally, get some bang for their buck.
Where would an opening season loss to IPFW rank in Archie’s off kilter reign as UD’s head man? Right near the top. Here’s a quick refresher, the worst five losses in Kid Yuma’s first two years (plus one game):
5. 11/28/12 vs. Weber State, 61-62. This wasn’t a horrid Wildcat team, they eventually posted a 30-7 record, earning a CIT bid later that season, but it was the first indication that last year’s team was heavily reliant on the play/attitude of Josh Benson. I’m going to let that sentence sink in.
4. 2/1/12 vs. Duquesne, 73-83. The Dukes were hot that night, my friends, connecting on 52% of their field-goal attempts, including a stellar 12-of-23 from downtown. Dayton simply could not get stops when it needed to, and not much has changed in that regard. Although this wasn’t a textbook ambuscade from an inferior opponent, it’s the earliest I can recall UD losing its second home conference game.
3. 11/15/11 at Miami, 67-72. This was a terrible Miami team, and this certainly wasn’t a very good Dayton team (although maybe that’s not fair, the 2011-12 Flyers did make the NIT tournament, which seems to appease the locals). The Flyers sped the pace up for this one and the Redhawks, a program built on sucking out its opponent’s will to live with pre-shot clock tactics, were more than able to keep pace. The Flyers went to the foul-line just six times that night and the two rivals chucked up a combined 43 three-point attempts. I’m glad Miami isn’t on the schedule this year.
2. The loss to IPFW would have went right here, gentlemen.
1. 11/30/11 vs. Buffalo, 55-84. Adam had to remind me of this one, think I buried it beneath some odontophobic nightmares. Dayton scored the first two points and was outscored by 31 the rest of the way. The Flyers shot 28% from the floor, 26% from three, and were completely outclassed by a Buffalo team that actually rolled out a decent season, finishing second in the MAC and making a CIT appearance. The Flyers took a 17 point beating at Murray State just a few days later and the season was all but done.
Of course, #2 is a mere what-if, never happened. But, man, was Archie a Miley Cyrus pubic hair away from adding another bad beat to his coaching resume.
The Red Flash come into the Arena with a 1-1 record, losing by twenty against conference buddy Fordham over the weekend and earning a 70-67 victory against the Navy Midshipmen on Monday night.
The good news for the St. Francis coming into this season – the Flash return four starters from last year. The SFU underclassmen were responsible for 99% of the team’s scoring and rebounding during the 2012-13 season. The bad news, that team went 5-24 last year, finishing tied for tenth in the Northeast Conference. More sour news, SFU is undersized, its tallest players are a reported six and a half feet. My proximity to Fordham allowed me a quick peek at the Red Flash on television, which means I have probably seen more of Saint Francis than any of UD’s assistants. What does this say about me? What does this say about them? The same thing when you think about it.
My impression of SFU: fairly athletic, terrible perimeter defense, did not respond well to pressure. The Flash spent most of the Fordham game, or at least the seven minutes I saw, playing hot-potato offense – last guy with the ball in his hands before the shot clock expired jacked it up. (Sidenote: Fordham’s Jon Severe looked pretty damn good)
Meet and Greet
I realize most of you are probably already well aware of the personnel the Red Flash bring into the Sweater Centre on Wednesday night, but just humor me here for a second.
SFU are led by 6’6” junior forward Earl Brown (13.5 ppg/7.5 rpg), the reigning Most Improved Player in the Northeast Conference. For a man his size, Brown in an absolute terror on what Bucky Bockhorn would call “the bankboards.” He pulled down 8.1 rebounds per game in conference play last year, which included a 25 rebound effort against Central Connecticut. Brown is a tenacious player who likes to get to the line frequently.
6’3’ sophomore Ollie Jackson is the team’s most talented backcourt player. Jackson camps out around the arc, attempting 70% of his field-goal attempts from beyond the three-point line last season. Greg Brown (3.5 ppg/1.5 apg) was the Flash’s primary point guard last season, but has been moved to the wing to make room for true freshman Malik Harmon (12.5 ppg/4.5 apg).
Harmon, by any estimation, was a steal for a program like SFU. He attended a renowned NYC basketball factory, Christ the King, and likely would have enrolled at a bigger program if not for the deadly combination the results from being 5’11” with sketchy grades. He is quick and gets to the basket with ease, has a decent outside shot as well. Harmon is realistically the lone Red Flash player capable of making plays one-on-one.
Sophomores Ben Millaud-Meunier (5.5 ppg/3.5 rpg) and Steph Mosley (9.5 ppg/5.0 rpg) were both named to the NEC All-Rookie team last season. Millaud-Meunier, a French-Canadian, is what you would call “a gym rat.” A 6’1” off guard, M&M is deadly behind the three-point arc, connecting on 48% of his attempts during his freshman season. Mosley, a 6’6” forward, fancies himself a perimeter threat. He has a rare offensive arsenal that is composed of solely three-pointers and put backs. Ronnie Drinnon (6.0 ppg/3.0 rpg) is Kurt Huelsman in a sexier package.
I know what you are thinking, what about Dominique Major and Stephon Wyatt? Don’t worry I didn’t forget about them. They’ll play — probably even score some while they’re at it.
One positive takeaway from Saturday’s near implosion against Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne is that this Flyer team already knows it can’t overlook anyone. ANYONE. UD comes out and takes care of business early, Devin Oliver hits a few jumpers, grabs a few boards and leads Gem City to victory with 17 points and 9 rebounds. The Flyers win a snoozer, 84-60.
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.