RecapU. Dayton BasketballA Familiar Feeling

Flyers put the pesky Sycamores away to get the job done on opening night
Sully3 weeks ago213 min

In the non-conference schedule, things move a bit slower. The sports world hasn’t conceded the spotlight to college basketball just yet, games mix in and out of holiday plans, and aside from your tournament around Thanksgiving, you’re generally playing about once a week. Throw in a visit from a wholly underwhelming opponent, and you’re going to wait a day or two to get a story from the BBR. You’ll be fine, we’ll all be fine, there’s another game Saturday and much life to live in between. However, dissect the game we must, so on we go…

The broadcast team brought up a very valid point to open the telecast that I hadn’t thought of until I heard it. With all the attention college basketball programs are getting these days for having absolutely outlandish courts like this…

…Dayton should be applauded for keeping it simple. So while my battle rages on with UD until the Flyers take the floor in baby blue jerseys again, the powers that be can be applauded for the minimalist design that doesn’t scream “look at me” like Northwestern, UCF, or Long Beach State. 

We were told on Monday by UD that the projectors were just installed for the opener, makes sense considering they were blocking the video screens for those in the 400 level. Really cool effect for the start of the year that gave the building another layer of feeling like a professional arena. Personally I would’ve gone for a game on national TV, you know, if I was calling the shots.

Right off the bat, here’s a couple things you probably didn’t expect but also probably shouldn’t over-think too hard that your head hurts:

Chase Johnson in the starting lineup. 

Rodney Chatman running the point and Crutcher going to play the 2. 

The abundance of lineups used

This is the juncture of the article where I need to remind all readers that this is game one. If you’re taking anything away from this performance other than “Dayton won” you’re looking too hard. You can’t judge the inside of a house from the front lawn people, calm down and stay the course.

Dayton opened up the night by going to Obi for one of the easiest buckets you’ll ever see, and that would foreshadow a good portion of the night for the Flyers offense, with Obi handling the first 3 buckets in impressive fashion en route to 29 points. Saying they were one dimensional would be kind, and frankly I get queasy thinking about a season where I hold my breath every time big #1 hits the floor. Someone follow him around The Ghetto in bubble wrap just in case, it’s for the greater good.

In the first half its fair to say UD started like it was the first half of the season. A few sloppy turnovers, a few missed defensive switches and they weren’t all that coordinated on ball screens while on defense. Chase “Dirt Road” Johnson did a few good things on defense getting stops but got treated like a soft boy going to the hoop early on. Rodney Chatman felt comfortable with the ball in his hands, he immediately seemed like a great compliment to Crutcher, encouraged to see how that tandem progresses together. Cohill and Matos remain greater assets on the defensive side of the ball (that’s the nice way of saying what you think I’m saying) and Chip Mikesell did general Chip Mikesell things that we have all come to know and expect over the last 4 years. Admittedly thought we would see more out of Ibi from the jump, keep an eye out on that. Basically I’m saying we have so many goddamn bodies it’s hard to be succinct while still addressing everyone. Dayton has dudes, a plethora of them, but the best bucket getters when the Flyers need 2 points are Obi and Jalen, that didn’t change. Jalen’s tear drop to end the first half was poetry.

The story of the second half was one that was all too familiar in Dayton, OH: let an inferior team hang around, settle for threes, eventually come out alive. We spent a lot of last season dissecting Dayton’s inability to put teams away and this past Saturday was no different, which definitely should be mildly concerning, even on opening night. What is not familiar in Dayton is having a dude like Obi who can hurt you from any conceivable way. We saw drives, dunks, threes, free throws, fade aways and more dunks. Somehow 29 points doesn’t even speak to the impact he had on the game, he was clearly a step above the rest on the court, which is obviously what has Dayton fans all giddy and shit going into the 2020 season. What will be a nightly theme is monitoring how every single opponent accounts for him, because although he snuck up on a lot of teams last year…he has everyone’s attention now on social media and in the nightly game plan.

 

Drew weighed in with his thoughts, because it’s more fun when you don’t just hear from me:

The game gave you reason for optimism moving forward and reason for pessimism moving forward, so basically, what any season opener does for a team with expectations. The flashes of good were really good. Obi Toppin showed that all the recognition he has received in the lead up to the season from pre-season award selections, to being Jay Bilas #1 player to watch breakout was warranted and when you have a player like that on your team every single night you are going to have a chance to win. Jalen Crutcher looks poised to make the leap to elite status in the Atlantic 10. One of my biggest keys to the season is Jalen being good enough to be in the first-team all-A10 discussion. He may not make the team necessarily, but I like the Flyers odds if he sustains an entire season looking like one of the ten best players in the Atlantic 10. 

However, it wouldn’t be Dayton Flyer basketball if they didn’t make us sweat a little bit and give all of us things to talk about as areas that can be improved upon. Give Indiana State credit, they were a very game opponent who didn’t give two shits about our expectations or our new arena as they took the fight to the Flyers in the early going.

RED MOTHERFUCKIN’ PANDA LADIES AND GENTS. THE RUMORS OF HER BEING WASHED UP AND HER DEMISE BEING IMMINENT WERE DRASTICALLY INCORRECT. RED PANDA FOREVER!

The Flyers began the second half on an 11-2 run capped by a three pointer from the masked man ,Rodney Chatman. ISU would then prove to be particularly pesky. Two Tyreke Key free throws cut the lead back to 6 and the lead would hover around there for the middle part of the half. With 5:23 to go Indiana State cut the lead to three on a Christian Williams 3 making the score 67-64 and on the ensuing possession Trey Landers (of all people) buried a triple of his own to get the lead back to 6.  ISU kept on threatening – cutting the lead to as little as 1, and being down three with a great look at the hoop that went clangin around. From there, Gem City just needed to ice it at the free throw line, and did. Lets get to some takes:

Obi and Crutcher are UD’s best players…obviously:

UD is going to go as these guys go, thats pretty evident. Obi finished with a monstrous stat line of 29-12-3 on 10/16 shooting, including 1-3 from 3 and 8-11 from the line. Enjoy him while you can Flyer fans, because he’s gonna be doing this for money this time next year. Jalen Crutcher was great in the supporting role. He scored 14 points on 5-11 shooting, 6 assist to 1 turnover. He struggled from 3 going 0-4 but those nights happen, no sweat.

Don’t trust all these transfers yet fam: 

You could tell that Chatman has the most game experience of the new blood. He plays with poise, doesn’t get rattled, and makes the right plays and defends. Ibi Watson struggled but you can see his potential on the floor. I am expecting big things from him and he will improve as he gets more comfortable in the offense and his role is more fleshed out. Jordy did not play in the opener but with the news the Sissoko is redshirting this year, it is clear that he should be back and ready to go soon. No idea what we’re getting from Chasie Jo Johnson this year, anyone’s guess at this juncture.

The Flyers will need a consistent 3rd threat to score:

As I astutely pointed out above, the man they call Chip Mikesell put in the usual day’s work of 12 points, grabbing 4 rebounds, and dishing out 3 assists. We know what the Chipster is and what he is going to bring to the floor, no one is asking him to go for 20 nightly. Yeoman’s work from that young fella.

Cohill only played 12 minutes but his reputation as a defender is just going to keep growing. Jhery returned to the floor after missing the majority of last season to a foot injury and struggled mightily on the offensive end. Lastly, is Trey Landers. He’s been committing the same fouls for three years and still looks absolutely baffled every time one is called. I’m just observing things, what the hell do I know? He does some good stuff I guess, just not enough of it. We need a third option who can get consistent buckets is all I’m saying. Rodney looked up to the task in this game, but I have a feeling that’s going to change with the wind.

Here’s what staff writer, Matt, had to add with some numbers baked in:

Most of the issues fans had were with UD’s defense, rebounding and three-point shooting. We touched upon UD’s three point shooting a bit last week when we discussed shot selection, but against the Sycamores the Flyers went 7 for 27 from deep, which is below the very mediocre 33% they shot last season. 45% of Dayton’s field goal attempts were from beyond the arc, up compared to 34.5% last season. Pessimists might say Indiana State packed the paint and an average long distance shooting team in Dayton settled for three’s too often. Optimists can point to that if the Flyers get a bump up in 3-point shooting to last year’s average, that sees them add points to an offense that scored 86 points on Saturday. If Dayton can be an average 3 point shooting team, they can help bolster an offense that shot a 54.2% effective field goal rate and finished 83.3% of field goals at the rim Saturday night.

Indiana State’s 116 offensive net rating was much higher than last season’s 97.27 for Dayton. The Sycamores had an offensive rebound rate of 29.4%, higher than the average UD gave up last season of 27.4%. This number is a bit more concerning, as it can typically be used to quantify effort. UD wasn’t a great rebounding the ball last season, being ranked 146th in the country, and didn’t show signs of any improvement Saturday night. Indiana State is not expected to be an offensive powerhouse, but as they say “They have scholarships too.” Giving average teams second and third chances to score is playing with fire and something UD will need to clean up if it wants to meet the goals set forth for the season.

We’ll let you go with some charts and graphs with the box score and send you loyal readers on your way. This article will be taking the place of a podcast this week because this is all the time I care to devote to Dayton handling business and going 1-0 against a lesser Indiana State squad. You all knew the drill from the outset: win the first 3 games and get on the flight to Maui. It doesn’t matter how they happen but I’ll give you permission to be pissy if Dayton can’t give Charleston Southern a sound shellacking this upcoming weekend.

Wear Red, be LOWD, see you then.

Sully

The LOWD ambassador of Chicago, Sully has spent his life tirelessly watching UD hoops. Welcomer of all takes, hot and cold.

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