Sometimes in life you gotta take a whoopin’. Whether you are Tua Tagovailoa, one of Adrian Peterson’s kids or the Dayton Flyers basketball team, catching a beatin’ every now and again is just part of life’s process. One of my biggest regrets is not getting smacked around enough by my parents, I think I would have been straightened out and been a much more productive adult. So, if you are a parent, please slap your kids, for society.
Dayton travels down to Auburn, Alabama this weekend in what should be an easy victory for the Tigers. This will be UD’s lone out-of-conference road game, returning the favor Aubie paid the Flyers last season — which resulted in a rather dominant 73-60 victory for Bruce Pearl’s club. People have asked me if this will be a vicious pink-socking, the likes of which we haven’t seen since The Overlords spread open every orifice back in 2016. My answer? Possibly, maybe, I don’t know. That 2016-17 Flyer team probably needed that ass-kicking from Xavier as a reminder that talented teams have the ability to embarrass them on any given night. This year’s UD squad doesn’t need that type of personal introspection, at least they shouldn’t.
This isn’t to say that Dayton can’t beat Auburn. The Flyers performances against Oklahoma and Virginia proved UD can hang with just about anyone in the country. But hanging around doesn’t pay the bills (did you know the last person to be publicly hung was a murderer from Delaware named Billy Bailey in 1996. 1996!? That seems insane to me). And if we are going to be truthful about it, it probably doesn’t matter much if Dayton does win. The Flyers season will hinge on, hopefully, three days in Brooklyn during the month of March. This year, more than any other year, keep reminding yourself that Dayton plays in the Atlantic Ten — and that is the standard you should measure your Flyers up against. Trust me, it’ll help if/when the game on Saturday gets out of hand.
If you saw any of Auburn’s games in the Maui Invitational you are already familiar with Tiger point-guard Jared Harper (13.9 ppg/43% 3fg/6.8 apg). He’s faster than shit through a goose, has extended range from the perimeter and is a constant drive-and-dish threat. Dayton won’t face a tougher guard all season, don’t let his small stature fool you. Many men have tried to keep Harper in front of them, many have failed. Senior Bryce Brown (16.0 ppg/37% 3fg) partners with Harper in Auburn’s starting backcourt. Brown, like most modern shooting guards, takes a majority of his shots from outside of twenty feet, nine inches. Brown has a well-rounded game, he gets in where he fits in.
Samir Doughty (8.6 ppg/38% 3fg) is a name most of you A10 diehards (anyone?) should be familiar with. After playing two years at VCU, Doughty let the flirty and dulcet vocal chords of Bruce Pearl convince him to join the Tiger program. Doughty has what human cliche machines call a “high basketball IQ.” He won’t be a difference maker necessarily, but he makes enough plays a game to make you take notice (which, incidentally, should be how you live your life).
Chuma Okeke (11.3 ppg/7.3 rpg) and Anfernee McLemore (7.3 ppg/5.5 rpg) are the two larger gentlemen in Pearl’s starting lineup. Okeke, likely starting at the small forward spot until Danjel (Yes, Danjel) Purifoy comes back from suspension next Saturday against UAB, has a skill set that controverts what you’d usually associate with a man of his size. He can score inside and out, currently knocking down 44% of his three-point attempts, and is the team’s leading rebounder. McLemore is a banger around the basket, he made the SEC All-Defensive team after leading the conference in blocks per game last season.
Auburn comes into the contest with the 13th most efficient offense and the 9th most efficient defense. That’s a lot of efficiency, if a German guy and a Chinese guy were having sex they’d pause to admire that type of productivity. The Tigers lead the nation in turnover percentage as well, a horrifying 29.1% of offensive possessions against AU end in a turnover. This should be a cause of concern for you UD fans out there, as the Flyers have been turnover prone against defenses that pressure and force the issue defensively. Auburn hasn’t been putting the screws to Shitstain University either, Pearl’s club has an impressive win over Washington, an overtime triumph over The Overlords, a stomping of Arizona, a suffered a very close loss to Duke.
All things considered, it’s difficult to see Dayton pulling out a win against Aubie. For one, it’s on the road. Secondly, Bruce Pearl could out-coach Anthony Grant whilst sitting on top of plunger in the dark. Lastly, Auburn will make UD work for every bucket it gets. Does this mean the Flyers will once again be resigned to jacking up over 20 three-pointers, surely a recipe for disaster? Yes, yes it probably does. Auburn 81, Dayton 66.
Lastly, and this is super important, I am humbly asking you to vote in the “Flyers Fan Cave” contest. The BBR lends its full support to @dbiondi77 and @ShoweyD. Please hit THIS LINK and give them votes, it’ll literally take you three seconds. YOU CAN VOTE EVERYDAY, FROM MULTIPLE DEVICES. It’s imperative that all this tacky shit ends up in a LOWD crew-member’s basement.
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.