With just six games remaining until the Atlantic Ten tournament, UD’s final third of the league slate, I think it’s fair to take a high-level look at Dayton’s record up to this point.
- Dayton has one win against a KenPom top 100 team, Butler
- 13 of Dayton’s 16 wins have come against KenPom 150+ teams, half of Dayton’s wins have come against Ken Pom 200+ teams
- The Flyer’s best victory this year came against Butler, currently 15-11 and 6-7 in the Big East (according to Pomeroy, UD’s second best win this season is Georgia Southern, which, yeah…)
- Six of Dayton’s eight conference wins have come against the bottom six of the league, all of which currently sport a losing league record
- Only five of UD’s sixteen wins have come against teams that currently have winning records (Purdue Fort Wayne, Butler, Presbyterian, Georgia Southern and Duquesne)
This quick rundown should tell you one thing, Dayton probably ain’t beating Davidson. The Wildcats are in the midst of a seventeen game home winning streak, and nothing on Dayton’s resume indicates that string will end tonight. A loss to Davidson would drop UD’s league record to 8-5, tying them with Duquesne and Saint Louis for a share of fourth place (SLU would have the tiebreaker over Dayton, effectively dropping the Flyers out of the Friday Four™). With Trey Landers out for the foreseeable future, it’s evident the Flyers drive for the conference tournament double-bye have become appreciably more difficult. In Frankie We Trust?
Not sure if you have followed Davidson this year, so let me clue you in — they’ve been pretty much running roughshod over the rest of the Atlantic Ten. The Wildcats are in first place in the conference, 10-2, the losses inexplicably coming against UMass and St. Joseph’s. Head Coach Bob McKillop just keeps the train rolling, even with one of the youngest rosters in the nation. This year’s Davidson squad has the same profile of pretty much every Wildcat team Dayton has encountered since the Carolina school joined the Atlantic Ten back in 2015. Nearly 46% of the Cats’ shots come from behind the three-point line, the ninth highest percentage in the nation. 61% of Davidson’s buckets come off assists, McKillop’s team moves the ball well and works it around until they find a good shot. The faces may change but their philosophy remains the same.
Davidson won’t trip over its own feet, the currently rank second in the country in turnover rate, trailing only Wisconsin. A mere 14% of the Cats’ possessions end in turnovers, which clearly limits the amount of transition opportunities for their opponents. Whereas Dayton features one of the highest free-throw rates in college basketball, with an eye-popping 48.2%, Davidson is almost immune to the free-throw stripe — McKillop’s team ranks last in the A10 in free-throw rate, racking up a measly 28.5% on the season — which translates to just 15.2% of their points coming from the foul-line.
Davidson features a four-guard attack led by Kellan Grady. Grady (16.7 ppg/4.2 rpg) has been in a bit of a shooting slump over the past four games, connecting on just one of his last fifteen three-point attempts. That’s Trey Landers-esque. Regardless, the reigning A10 Rookie of the Year will be a handful for UD. Grady takes just over a quarter of the squad’s shots and remains a force when driving to the hoop. Jon Axel Gudmundsson, the Icelandic Incubus (the white spot in his hair is very common in earthly demons), is one of the most versatile players in the conference. Gudmundsson (16.5 ppg/6.8 rpg/4.4 apg) is an elite scorer, an exemplary rebounder and plays an underrated brand of defense. Much of Davidson’s offense flows through Gudmundsson and he has the ability to knock down low-hanging nutsack shots late in the game.
KiShawn Pritchett, finally fully healthy as a redshirt Junior, is a solid contributor for Bob McKillop’s squad. Pritchett takes most of his shots from behind the arc, where he is knocking down 34% of his shots. Pritchett (7.7 ppg/4.1 rpg) is built like a brick shithouse and can take over primary ball-handling responsibilities when Davidson wants to run Grady and Gudmundsson off screens. If you watched Davidson battle St. Joseph’s last Friday (Steph Curry was there!) you definitely know who redshirt freshman guard Luke Frampton is. Frampton, who missed all last season with an ACL tear, was put on this earth to shoot. Good shots, bad shots, blind shots, Frampton doesn’t care. He needs to bomb away, it’s his nature and there is no reasoning with him. Frampton (11.7 ppg/6.6 rpg) has attempted TWO HUNDRED AND THREE triples through 25 games. Do the math, that’s a lot of treys, guys. To be fair to the young man, he’s converting around 40% of his three-point attempts, so UD would be wise to drape a man on him around the perimeter.
It wouldn’t be Davidson without a tall, lanky Euro — enter 6’10” forward Luka Brajkovic. Brajkovic (11.0 ppg/6.6 rpg) is a freshman from Austria who impressed during the FIBA U-18 Championships. Brajovic (11.0 ppg/6.6 rpg) will need to put on weight to achieve his full potential, but it is already clear that the kid can play. He’s got touch away from the basket and is one of the better shot blockers in the A10. Sophomore guard Carter Collins is the main reserve off the Wildcat bench. Primarily a perimeter shooter, Collins (5.6 ppg/3.8 rpg) is a solid role player for the Cats.
If you haven’t assumed it by now, I’m not really giving the Flyers much of a chance in this one. A depleted lineup, a tough road test against arguably the league’s best team? The odds are clearly not in UD’s favor. Davidson 69, Dayton 61. Don’t wear white and be #LOWD.
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.