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Recon: Eastern Michigan

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The Dayton Demolition Tour continues as the Flyers take on Eastern Michigan on Saturday afternoon. Season ticket holders are slowly regretting their purchases and Archie Miller is catching up on his sleep. 

UD is exactly where we expected them to be, 5-1 with two games left before the Flyers head to Fayetteville. If you haven’t been paying attention, that’s okay. The meat of the schedule is just ahead, Dayton just needs to get trim some of the fat before then. UD has had a great deal of success against the MAC, winning 19 of 20 at home against the conference since the year 2000. 

If someone wants to volunteer to write the recap for this one, please let me know.







[/fullwidth_section] [spacer height=”15″] [title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Boy Named Scoochie[/title]


There’s been some rumbling, some deserved, some not, about the play of Scoochie Smith. The sophomore point guard has slumped offensively so far this season, shooting a dismal 26.8% from the field (20.8% on two-point attempts) and averaging a somewhat underwhelming 6.5 points per game. Smith came into this season with some heightened expectations, the result of a promising performance in last season’s NCAA Tournament. Khari Price’s transfer opened up an opportunity for Smith to increase his minutes and production this year.

Jon Rothstein listed Scooch as one of twenty breakout players to watch this season:

Armed with 20 pounds of extra muscle along with the experience of playing major minutes on a team that advanced to the Elite Eight, Smith will be in the conversation about the best point guards in the Atlantic 10. With Khari Price — last year’s starting floor general — no longer in the Flyers’ program, Dayton is now truly “Scoochie’s” team.

This team feels like it is anyone but Scoochie’s at this point. He looked decent in the season opener against Alabama A&M and had one of UD’s better efforts against Illinois-Chicago. However, he was absolutely stifled against better competition in Puerto Rico (Scoochie shot a harrowing 4-of-26 from the floor and dished out a total of just nine assists over the three games). It’s fine to have an ineffectual point-guard against the dregs of the non-conference schedule, but UD will certainly need more from Smith as the season progresses. 

My assumption is that Scooch worked tirelessly on his perimeter shot this summer, getting up thousands of shots while the rest of us were breathlessly watching Big Brother. It’s clear that Smith is eager to implement what I’m sure he believes is his improved stroke this season, but it’s just not happening yet. He is simply not a competent outside shooter, and he may never be. For whatever reason, Scooch has gotten away the areas of his game that were so encouraging during the tail end of last season. He isn’t aggressive with the basketball in his hand, he rarely challenges his defender by driving to the basket, and he isn’t getting UD’s offensive threats the ball in advantageous positions. 

Nevertheless, there have been some positives. Smith is knocking down three-pointers at an encouraging 35% clip, he is averaging almost two steals a game, and has a solid, if not pedestrian, 2.4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Scooch has also been impressive from the foul-line, knocking down 85% of his attempts on the season.


The problem is, it’s really hard not to overlook the imperfections of a guy named Scoochie. You want to root for a dude named Scoochie, it’s human nature. Dayshon gets criticized easily, Scoochie gets a pass (We can discuss the appropriateness of calling a grown-ass man “Scoochie” at another time).

[spacer height=”15″] [title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Overview[/title]

Eastern Michigan begs the question, are you really undefeated if you haven’t played anyone? Technically, yes, but EMU’s schedule up to this point leaves much to be desired. Although the Eagles come into the Sweater Centre with a perfect 7-0 record, they have yet to face a team with a pulse. Longwood, Rochester (MI), Saint Francis (Ill) and Marygrove are among the programs Eastern has demolished coming into tomorrow’s game with UD (only Longwood will count as a win for NCAA purposes, as the rest of those programs are not division one programs). Dayton is the first sub-200 RPI team the Eagles have faced this season.

EMU’s basketball program has gained some momentum under coach Rob Murphy’s three years at the helm. The Eagles posted twenty-two wins, their second winning season since 1999-00 last year and made a postseason (CIT) appearance for the first time since 1997-98. Eastern returns three starters from last year’s crew, yet return little else as nine scholarship players entered this season without ever picking up a ball in an Eagle uniform. 

Murphy’s squad can put the ball in the basket, the Eagles come into the UD game averaging around 75 points a game. EMU has rebounded the ball at an astounding rate, pulling down a ridiculous forty-four boards a game (currently 11th in the nation). And yes, I realize their dog shit opposition makes almost all of the preceding information completely irrelevant.  


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Karrington Ward • F (6’7″/186) • Sr.
14.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg

Preseason All-MAC player, will probably lead the Eagles in most offensive categories by season’s end.

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Raven Lee • G (6’3″/180) • So.
15.0 ppg, 39% 3fg

Supposedly one of the best pure scorers in the MAC. I read that somewhere.

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Mike Talley • G (6’0″/176) • Sr.
10.3 ppg, 4.1 apg

Just out of curiosity, I wanted to know if this Mike Talley was related to the Mike Talley that played for Michigan during the Fab Five days. It’s his son, confirmed, you’re welcome. Mike Talley, Jr. started his career out at Duquesne, yet I never heard of him.

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Ethan Alvano • G (6’1″/170) • Fr.
4.7 ppg, 3.4 apg

“He’s going to force me to play him.” — Coach Rob Murphy.

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Jordan Price • G (6’7″/180) • So.
5.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg

Transfer from DePaul, EMU’s best three-point shooter.

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Brandon Nazione • F (6’8″/215) • Jr.
4.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg

Look at this fucking guy. So happy. No one living in Ypsilanti should be this cheerful.

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Mike Samuels • C (6’11″/285) • Jr.
3.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg

Broke his foot while at Indiana State, sat out two full seasons and ended up at EMU. He is fresh.

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Anali Okoloji • F/C (6’11″/245) • Jr.
9.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg

Started at Seton Hall, transferred to George Mason and is now at Eastern Michigan. Pray for him.

[/column] [/row] [spacer height=”15″] [title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Numbers Game[/title]


[fullwidth_section text_color=”dark” background_type=”color” bg_color=”#C4D8E2″] [spacer height=”15″] [title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Prediction[/title]

Eastern Michigan will “score the ball” against UD, the question is whether they can match the Flyers basket for basket. The simple answer is no. The Eagles got fat on some of the worst competition my eyes have ever seen. Flyers win, 79-70. 



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