U. Dayton BasketballRecon: Syracuse

First and foremost, check out this video and try not to let the hair stand up on the back of your sack. Well done anonymous Electronic Media major, well done.  It’s easy to lose perspective with UD’s recent runs in the NCAA tournament. A 5-2 record over the past two tourneys has raised expectations around the Gem City and, for the first time in forever, the Flyers are going to their third consecutive Dance. However, let’s...

First and foremost, check out this video and try not to let the hair stand up on the back of your sack. Well done anonymous Electronic Media major, well done. 

It’s easy to lose perspective with UD’s recent runs in the NCAA tournament. A 5-2 record over the past two tourneys has raised expectations around the Gem City and, for the first time in forever, the Flyers are going to their third consecutive Dance. However, let’s not overlook the fact that the trip to the NCAA tournament, for most of the field, is the prize. It’s the reason you sweat out close games over Miami and Richmond during the regular season, every game matters when you are a program like Dayton. 

Win or lose, UD’s basketball program is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was five short years ago. No small feat. By the time Dayton takes on Syracuse tomorrow afternoon, there will be only 48 teams left to compete for the national championship. This isn’t easy, this isn’t a given. In a season that had so many ups and downs, let’s remember what an achievement it is for the Flyers to even be here, a seven seed, battling with the most elite programs in the country. Win or lose, Dayton is synonymous with success. 

Now lets get #LOWD.


daytontriangleSyracuse’s inclusion in the field came with some controversy as the Orange had an underwhelming season, coming into the tournament with a 19-13 record.  The Cuse’s resume is littered with losses to solid clubs, nine of their defeats came at the hands of programs in the RPI Top 50 (their lone landmine was a disheartening loss at St. John’s in mid-December).

Jim Boeheim’s team did have some impressive victories during the year — wins against Texas A&M, Duke and Notre Dame —  which were clearly the impetus for Syracuse’s at-large berth. 

Although not much can be gleaned from Dayton’s matchup with Syracuse in 2014, nearly the entire Orange roster has turned over, the Cuse defensive and offensive approach has, of course, remained the same. Boeheim lives and dies with his 2-3 zone, with lengthy guards up top and rangy wings on the edges. UD will have to connect from the perimeter in order to take down the Cuse for the second time in three years. Dayton’s opportunities to get out in transition will be extremely limited against Syracuse — Scoochie, Cooke and even DURRELL must knock down some shots from behind the arc in order for the Flyers to advance. 

The diagram to the right depicts the Cuse 2-3 zone and the “Dayton Triangle” perfectly fits into the areas of the floor UD must attack to be successful (Jock Jams is the approximate point on the floor where Jordan Sibert launched his infamous shot in 2014). Quick and effective ball movement is the key to getting open looks against the Cuse 2-3 zone, Pollard and Pierre will be tasked with making the right pass if and when they catch the ball at the foul-line.

Defensively, UD has to guard the three-point line as the Orange live and die by the trey. Syracuse doesn’t get on the break often, preferring a protracted half-court attack.  The Cuse are a subpar foul-shooting team (they only get to the line on 35% of their possessions) and are one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the nation. 

Boeheim’s squad gets just 16.4% of its minutes from its bench, the second worst percentage in the country. Dayton’s offense will hopefully go right at Syracuse from the jump and take advantage of the Orange’s most glaring weaknesses. 


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Well here we are folks. Whether you are young and hip enough to have found the “leaked bracket” or not, one thing remains the same. We are on journey to take on the best nose picker that any network could hope for. Jimmy B and the Syracuse Orangemen (fuck the Orange and being politically correct). As a ’09 Flyer Grad and a Rochester native, I am uncomfortably familiar with each both teams that enter this blood bath. Mr. Tommy B has been gracious enough to allow me a few paragraphs to break down our opponents. First off, I’d like to say fuck you to the committee for putting Michigan State as a 2 seed and giving either Dayton/Syracuse a slim to none chance of advancing to the second weekend. I hope I’m wrong. On with it.

Our opponents from upstate New York are the poster boys of inconsistency. Lose to Blackburn’s St. John’s squad…pathetic. Beat the refs and Duke at Cameron…impressive. There are some similarities to Dayton in that respect. If Dayton hadn’t escaped a few of the shitty wins that they squeaked out this year, their resume would probably look fairly comparable to Syracuse. Both teams have talent. Both teams have shooters. Both teams have talent and shooters that don’t always show up. Most likely why this game opened as a pick ‘em in Vegas. Syracuse is a dangerous team right now. They have talent and a ton of athleticism. Combine that with the fact they didn’t expect to be in the tournament and that the last time they played in the tournament…they lost to your Dayton Flyers. Makes for a good matchup.

Breakdown of the Syracuse roster

1444770223PG – Michael Gbinije – “Silent G” – Kind of a sick nickname. Since transferring into the Cuse from Duke his game has grown more than any other I can recall at Syracuse. At 6’7” and refs allowing him to carry the ball every time he dribbles (Old school sweaters fixin to be pissed), he’s a matchup nightmare. A fifth-year senior, Silent G isn’t afraid of anything. He loves the big shot and has a well rounded game. When he’s feeling it he’ll chuck, and make, from up to 28 feet. He doesn’t want his season to end and is the most dangerous threat that our Flyers have to be concerned with.

SG – Trevor Cooney – If you don’t know who Cooney is by now you haven’t been watching college basketball for the past 10 years. At least, that’s how long I think he’s been at Cuse. Streaky shooter and very dangerous when hot. Also sneaky good defensively at the top of the zone. Won’t check the stats but he is one of their all-time steals leaders. This matchup has Kyle Davis written all over it. KD should be able to stay with him.

SF – Malachi Richardson – 5 Star freshman. Does not care if he misses ten shots in a row, he still wants the last shot. Essentially he’s DURRELLon steroids, and doesn’t make the mistakes that our young DURRELL makes. Nevermind, the comparison is invalid. Malachi played briefly with our boy Charles Cooke in high school at Trenton Catholic, so there’s a connection for you. The kid has deep range, no fear, and is a future NBA player. He disappears at times but the talent is undeniable.

PF – Tyler Roberson – Ahhh another New Jersey boy who disappears in games at times. He’s a fast-twitched springy athlete that can board with the best of them. He actually has a nice one-dribble spin move but Jimmy B hates it when Roberson tries to do anything except for offensive rebound and score off put backs and dump offs. Will be interesting to see if he hangs around the offensive glass as Dayton is known to run.

C – DaJuan Coleman – A previous McDonald’s All-American. Kid has a serious frame to him. 6’8” 260. Nice hands but…remind me if I’m repeating myself, extremely inconsistent. I’ll give him an excuse due to his (at least) three major knee surgeries. Shows flashes of a solid post player but typically fouls far too often and has a seat on the bench rather quickly. He’s a guy that we need to expose in the high post with Pierre, Pollard, or Cooke. A shot fake and go is almost a guaranteed foul.

Bench – As a typical nose picker team, the Orangemen use two guys off the bench. Most notably, Tyler Lydon, a freshman big man. He’s 6’8” and sneaky athletic. This kid has some ridiculous potential. Can shoot it up to 25 feet out and has learned later in the season how effective his shot fake can be. Also smooth around the rim. He’s a real scare for our beloved Flyers. Franklin Howard also comes off the bench. Typical Cuse guy, 6’5” slashing guard. He, along with Richardson are the teams two best passers. Unfortunately for Frank, he throws too many of those passes to the other team. He’s still a long body at the top of the zone

19787687-mmmainOther players of note – Christian White. A fellow Rochester native. Instead of hanging out and becoming a member of the Monmouth bench mob, he decided to transfer to Cuse and received preferred walk-on status, whatever the fuck that means. If you tune into the game late and see a short white boy with a man bun in the game for Syracuse, that’s either really good or really bad. Second player of note is Chino Obokoh. He’s a 6’9” big man who will only see the court if Syracuse has severe front court foul trouble. If he plays, he will get eaten alive by any Dayton big man and we should welcome him onto the court.

Keys to Victory
  1. Easier said than done, get the ball into one of the aforementioned Pierre/Pollard/Cooke at the foul line area. Look to shot fake and blow by DaJuan Coleman. He WILL foul.
  2. Get out in transition. Simple formula to beat any zone. Beat it down the court.
  3. As our good friend Doug Gottlieb reminded us in our game against Saint Joe’s, Dayton plays a function of the pack line defense. This worked for Virginia against Syracuse earlier this year and hopefully Archie gets his hands on that game tape to watch what works defensively.
  4. Ball pressure – Syracuse doesn’t like playing against quick guards. Time for Scoochie to play that NYC D and Kyle Davis to use his quickness. If Dayton can create turnovers it will be tough for Syracuse to keep pace.
  5. Crash the Boards.
Dayton’s Concerns
  1. Syracuse gets hot from 3. Don’t act like we haven’t seen this before. Syracuse is very different from its traditional teams in that they have numerous capable shooters on the floor at all times. Silent G, Cooney, Richardson, and Lydon are all knock down three point shooters. I assume that Cuse will look to the pick and pop with Lydon as Saint Joes used Miles. Gotta hope Lydon is off.
  2. TURNOVERS. No shock here. Dayton turns the ball over. Syracuse creates a lot of turnovers and is very good in transition. Can’t let this happen.
  3. DaJuan Coleman – If Coleman has one of those games that he gets comfortable down low and actually produces, Syracuse becomes very dangerous. Archie should have Big Steve in any time that Coleman is in the game. That will allow him to keep his ass in the paint around the basket.
  4. Dayton falls in love with the 3. Syracuse forces a ton of three pointers. Dayton cannot sit back and chuck (like the first La Salle game). Gotta work inside out.

Dyshawn Pierre

Ideal defensive matchups for Dayton: Gotta have Cooke on Silent G because of his size. Throw Kyle Davis on Cooney. Scoochie on Malachi: he’s going to give up size but should be able to contest and keep him out of the lane. Pierre on Roberson, box the fuck out. Pollard on Coleman – This shouldn’t matter for too long, Coleman will go to the bench. Pollard will be able to keep up with Lydon and be physical with him as well.

Prediction: A very good excuse for us Dayton Flyers students and alumni to “pregame harder than you party” or some shit. Get drunk, watch the game, and enjoy the fact that we didn’t have to sweat out Selection Sunday. Similar to two years ago, it’s probably going to be an ugly dog fight. Syracuse can’t quite keep up and our Flyers come out victorious 67-62. Onto the fighting Tom Izzos (fuck). As always, WARE RED & BE LOWD.

As Fabolous would say, The Plug: @Richhinman on Twitter. I’m a shitty follow; don’t blame you for not hitting that follow button. You’ve been warned.

Nate’s Numbers

12526676-standardIn looking at Syracuse, Dayton’s “Keys To Victory” come down to one thing on defense and one thing on offense.  On defense Dayton has to defend three point line, which has been a weakness.  Cuse is not exceptionally awesome at shooting threes (36%), but the take a ton. 43% of their field goal attempts come there which is 28th in the country.  Dayton’s defensive strength is inside and Syracuse struggles to shoot from there, shooting 47.6% on two point field goal attempts. Can Dayton defend the three or get lucky and hope for a poor shooting afternoon for Cuse? Maybe.

On the offensive size, everyone knows Dayton will face Cuse’s zone. Like any 2-3 zone its susceptible to three point attempts, Cuse allows 40% of shots from 3 and offensive rebounds, where they are the worst defensive rebounding team in the country. While I typically attribute poor three point shooting percentage mostly to the offense, its easy to see that many teams are settling for poor three point attempts as Syracuse’s defensive possessions are the longest in the nation at an average of 19 seconds.  We all know Dayton can’t shoot, so what can they do?  Move the ball and get to the rim.  At times, less so this year, Archies offense can have beautiful movement.  Syracuse has the highest percentage of assists on field goals made against them and is middling interior defense.  If you’re gonna score on Cuse, you need to get to the rim and set it up via assists and ball movement.

Defend the three, move the ball, get to the rim, win the game.

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There’s plenty to be concerned about given UD’s inconsistency from the perimeter this season, but I really like the Flyers’ chances. Syracuse doesn’t have the type of offensive firepower to knock UD out quickly and Dayton has enough talent on both ends of the floor to keep the Cuse at bay. Charles Cooke hits four threes, UD out-rebounds the Orange by seven and the Flyers live to see another day, 59-57.




Tom Blackburn

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.