The disparity among the various Bracketologists indicates that no one really has a handle on what will unfold over the next ten days. I’ve seen bracket projections with Dayton safely in the field, brackets with UD at the top of the bubble and brackets that seem to not consider UD at all (on a related note, those wins over Gonzaga and Cal aren’t looking so great right now).
Bracket speculation is good, clean fun, it generates clicks and gives greater meaning to regular season games among the also-rans of the college basketball world. Among major collegiate sports, basketball remains the most peculiar, sometimes it seems like wins only matter when people are paying attention.
The entire sweatpants brigade will be tuning into SLU/UD tomorrow night, a road win against a Top 25 team would go a long way in gaining increased reference.
The Billikens, who looked poised to go undefeated in league play, lost back-to-back games for the first time this season — at home against Duquesne and on the road last weekend vs. VCU. The loss to the Dukes is one of the more shocking results this season, and it provided plenteous ammunition to people desperately looking for a reason to not believe in this SLU team.
There is reason for the skepticism. The Bills, by their nature, are seen as a “system” program, which is a nice way of saying gimmicky. Their methodical offensive pace and pressure defense do not inspire awe, excitement or admiration. The Billikens, by and large, do not recruit the types of players that jump off the TV screen. Their most inspiring performances this season were actually loses, close defeats against Wichita State and Wisconsin (SLU’s best wins this year were at home against VCU and a road victory over St. Joe’s in early February). Jim Crews’ team will be one of the higher seeds prognosticators will look to as a potential early-round upset victim when the brackets are released two Sundays from now.
[quote_box_right]Dayton is 19-2 this year when three or more players score in double figures. When it is two players or less, the Flyers are 1-7.[/quote_box_right]Of course, Saint Louis came into the Sweater Centre earlier in the year and knocked off the Flyers, 67-59. Although the Bills did suffer a major setback against Duquesne, consider that they shot just 4-of-23 from behind the arc (17%), so you’d be wise to place that loss into its proper context. The Flyers had no answer for Dwayne Evans the first time around, and I think it’s safe to say that UD’s frontcourt hasn’t figured out much since then. The game against SLU earlier this year was Devin Oliver’s worst outing in a Flyer uniform. The senior went 0-of-12 from the field and finished with a goose-egg in the scoring column in thirty-three minutes of play. A better effort from Oliver is all but assured.
The Flyers, as a team, shot just 31% against the Billikens the first time around and an eight-minute scoring drought all but sealed the Flyer’s fate. Obviously, these are things UD wants to avoid tomorrow night. Saint Louis has the league’s best scoring defense (60.5 ppg) and field goal defense (.392). Dayton will need more than just Jordan Sibert on the offensive end. Saint Louis will look to wrap up the regular season championship with a win against Dayton tomorrow night.
Meet and Greet
Dwayne Evans, Jordair Jett, Mike McCall, Rob Loe, etc. You should know them by now.