Hey knuckleheads, you know ya boy makes an appearance every summer to discuss the UD non-con schedule. You bitched about the schedule, very few heard you, and this is the schedule, nonetheless. If you would like to learn more about what exactly went into this schedule (and how difficult this process has become for UD under the current climate of college basketball) go on over and listen to our latest podcast, where we explore the topic in depth and how it pertains specifically to UD. That’s my nice way of saying: if you came here to hear me talk about our lack of true road games or the successes/failures of the athletic director, Neil Sullivan, close the tab now. This is the bird’s eye view of who the Flyers will be taking on before the calendar turns to 2020. The time for bitching and moaning is over, this is the schedule, let’s dive in.
Indiana State – Saturday, November 9th
UD did the right thing this season (in my humble blogging opinion, after the Wednesday night opener last year) and decided to forego the first four official days of college basketball season to get started on a weekend night in the freshly renovated UD Arena against the Sycamores. Larry Bird’s school is coming off another mediocre campaign and has been under .500 for half a decade now. Their 2018-19 season got off to an 8-3 start, including a win over Colorado in the Diamond Head Classic, before everything completely went to shit. They would win 7 games out of their last 20, go 7-11 in the god-awful Missouri Valley conference, and got absolutely embarrassed in the first round of the MVC tournament by an equally mediocre Valpo team. They lose three seniors and a few others to transfer (because this is 2019 college basketball), but bring back their leading scorer at point guard as well as four key contributors to the lineup and four true freshmen. While the personnel won’t be nearly the same as a year ago, the results probably will. The boys from Terre Haute may give our Flyers a fight, but there is no earthly reason UD should lose this game to start the season, which makes the Sycamores a perfect house guest for night #1 despite the athletic department trying desperately to get a bigger named opponent.
Charleston Southern – Saturday, November 16th
(It’s going to look like I know what I’m talking about regarding Charleston Southern, but in reality, I found one of their fans on twitter and asked him what the deal was with his team, it was good to see they have fans)
The Buccaneers from North Charleston, SC (confusing, right?) will make the trek to Dayton with a mediocre basketball team and an alarmingly low graduation rate. That really doesn’t have anything to do with basketball, but I wanted to include it anyways, since its 34%. They’re coached by Barclay Radebaugh, who is a shining example that one can carve out a mediocre career coaching college basketball despite having a name that immediately convinces you his family once owned slaves. Radebaugh has been down in Charleston for 14 seasons and has never won 20 games, nor has he ever tasted the fine wine available at the NCAA Tournament. Last year CSU was a game away from getting there for the first time since 1997 but was ousted by Radford in the Big South title. The 18-16 (9-7) squad brings back the bulk of their production from the supporting cast, but unfortunately lost their leading scorer to North Carolina as a grad transfer. No team will come to Dayton with a better name on the roster, as Phlandrous Fleming will be announced in the starting lineup. Apparently, CSU brought back one of their best alumni to be an assistant coach. Which should help? This is a team that needs to play a quicker pace, shoot better across the board, and get contributions from the entire roster to be relevant in their conference this year. The chances they have it all figured out in week two are incredibly low. They’ll be well fed, get paid, and catch a long bus ride home after a sound beating. This is the most words that have ever been written about Charleston Southern basketball.
Nebraska-Omaha – Tuesday, November 19th
The Mavericks from Nebraska-Omaha (or UNO for all you wiseguys out there) will visit The Arena during their 8th season of Division 1 competition, representing the Summit League. Similarly, to Charleston Southern, UNO was one game away from dancing last year, but was bested in the conference title game by Summit League mainstay, North Dakota State. While the Mavs lost their top two scorers from last season’s squad, they bring back the entire rest of the farm to make another go at the Summit’s elusive one bid. They’ll be led by JT Gibson, who played HS ball with former Dayton commit, now Colorado point guard, McKinley Wright, who will be mentioned if you keep reading. They played five teams in the Power 5 last season and lost five times. This matchup is intriguing because Omaha SHOULD be in the conversation to win the Summit and is as good a candidate as any to play spoiler on a Tuesday evening. Their game last season involved efficient 3pt shooting, not turning the ball over, and not playing a whole lot of defense. Given that this is UD’s final tune-up before flying to Maui, I’ll remain confident the Mavs will not go overlooked.
Georgia – Monday, November 25th (Maui)
Arguably no one person has had a greater impact on the last two years of Dayton basketball than Georgia’s head coach, Tom Crean. You may remember him as the head honcho at Indiana, who was fired to make way for Archie Miller, but I remember him (now and forever) as the guy who kisses his teenage son on the mouth. Some images can’t be forgotten. Jokes aside, this is THE most important game on the UD non-conference schedule. The Flyers will get the winner/loser of Michigan State and Virginia Tech based on the outcome of each game. So while it cannot be deemed a “must-win”, (because a good second round matchup exists regardless) starting the tournament in the win column will take the pressure off and make for a successful trip immediately. The basketball Dawgs will be lead by the nation’s #1 rated freshman, Anthony Edwards, who was undoubtedly lured to Athens by the hard work of a few old men in Atlanta with burner phones and duffel bags of cash. My man Tristan Freeman did a bio of all the teams in Maui and does a better job than anything I could come up with. Rest assured, this is a very winnable game for your Dayton Flyers, simply due to the inexperience on the UGA roster, and will go a long way to building a necessary resume to ensure they’re in the conversation for an at-large bid come March.
Houston Baptist – Tuesday, December 3rd
This game flat-out sucks, no two ways around it. UD will be getting back from Maui on Thursday/Friday the week prior and will be right back out to the west coast for SMC just a few days later. Given that travel schedule, you gotta schedule a cupcake to make certain there is no bed shitting in the non-con. This is who picked up the phone and accepted the sum written on the check, sorry folks.
St. Mary’s in Phoenix – Sunday, December 8th
Given the current climate of scheduling for mid-majors in college basketball, games like this are going to become the new normal for teams like Dayton, taking the place of the traditional “home and home” series. SMC is a year removed from sneaking into the Big Dance by beating mighty Gonzaga in the WCC tournament, and likely will be one of, if not THE, toughest opponent UD takes on before A10 play. The Gaels bring back almost everyone from last year’s 22-12 team, including 4 of 5 starters and leading scorer, Jordan Ford, who averaged 21 ppg. Randy Bennett has been coaching the Gaels since Oliver Purnell was on campus in Dayton, so you know exactly what you’re going to get from them: slow, methodical offense, and lock down help-defense. SMC held opponents to 60 or less in half of their conference games last season, and finished in the top 100 of just about every offensive category that matters. The more I think about it, Dayton is fortunate to be playing SMC in a mostly-empty NBA arena because this a god’s honest tournament team and it behooves them to level the playing field as best they can.
Drake – Saturday, December 14th
The Bulldogs will be making their first trip to UD since January 1962 when they took on the eventual NIT (when it was a good tournament!) Champion Dayton Flyers in the Frericks Center. For my money this is the most intriguing home game of the non-con. Second year coach Darian DeVries graduated three key seniors, but brings back the rest of the lineup along with two new freshman and two transfers to build on a 24-10 campaign that was good enough for a share of the MVC regular season title. They will be experienced, up-tempo, rely heavily on guard play from the perimeter, and even throw in a 7-footer from the bench. Every game on the schedule has a story behind it, and in this case, the story is that Drake thinks they’ll be good enough to come into Dayton and steal a resume-boosting win. Basically, I’m saying this has TRAP GAME written all over it. Thankfully the red and blue should get a favorable tip-off time to ensure the students and sweaters alike have time to get liquored up before this one. Don’t overlook the boys from Des Moines, they’re not coming to Dayton just for the pay day.
North Texas – Tuesday, December 17th
I can’t make head or tails of this North Texas team, to be quite honest with you. They jumped out to a 16-1 record last year by loading their non-conference schedule with cupcakes and then beat a very bad New Mexico team in Albuquerque. Unfortunately, the Mean Green were anything but mean the rest of the way, going 5-11 in CUSA to close things out, including a second-round exit in the conference tournament. They bring back 44ppg out of their starting rotation, including Umoja Gibson, who will probably be one of those guys who goes for 30 in The Arena and then is completely forgotten about before the post-game beer hits your lips. Considering this game is a couple days before the boys travel to Chicago, I could see the Mean Green being overlooked by our Flyers, but I doubt it. The tidbit you can take away from this paragraph is that UNT’s home floor is named The Super Pit, and I think that’s pretty fucking cool.
Colorado in Chicago – Saturday, December 21st
It’s a good time to point out the obvious: this is the signature match-up for UD in 2019. If you’re a frequent reader of the site, you know the story line behind this one. That fella above this paragraph, McKinley Wright, committed to Archie Miller and UD, only to pull his commitment and head to Colorado after the dust settled and Anthony Grant took over. Colorado beat UD in a first-round NIT game that the Flyers were more or less indifferent to be a part of anyways, and truth be told I had the game on but couldn’t tell you a single moment that took place. Regardless, the Buffs bring back the entire squad that bested our Flyers and the expectation will be to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016. This is a complete team with capable players at every position, and can hurt you in any number of ways beyond the point guard. UD will have their hands full even if they don’t lay a stinker like the last time they played in the United Center. The good news is that last years Buffaloes struggled away from home, going 5-8, including a 3-6 mark in Pac12 play. Circle the calendars. This is absolutely a game UD must win to have a strong resume for March.
Grambling – Monday, December 23rd
UD is not shy about saying they would rather play 13 games in the non-con and bring in someone horrendous to make gameday revenue than not play a game at all. Grambling is that someone who is horrendous. The SWAC is a bad conference, this is one of the teams in said bad conference. Wear your Christmas gear and be merry. Sorry folks.
North Florida – Monday, December 30th
‘Member these guys? Sure, you do! The Ospreys opened up our barn last year as hapless prey and received a sound thumping by Gem City that wasn’t even as close as the score indicated. As it was last year when I wrote a bio about North Florida: they graduated absolutely no one. The entire starting lineup will be entering their senior season, and mediocre results will inevitably follow. Opponents scored at will in the paint against UNF a season ago, the Ospreys turned the ball over at a clip greater than 1-in-5 possessions and were downright disinterested in rebounding. They took multiple losses in the Dayton area last year (also dropping a game at Wright State) and will surely be dropping another this time around. This is a fine tune-up for UD before A10 play against a team that won’t be completely useless, so that’s something.
Prediction: 10-3 with an undefeated home slate
Wear Red, be LOWD.