There was a lot to like about Dayton’s season-opening win against Indiana State. There were obviously some glaring negatives as well. That, my friends, is what opening games are like sometimes. Obi Toppin was phenomenal last weekend. He scored on spot ups, he scored on pick and rolls, he scored on cuts to the hoop and on post-ups. In short, he showcased his entire arsenal, finishing with a game-high 29 points and 12 rebounds. Almost a third of Toppin’s points came after a timeout, which indicates the coaching staff is very aware that getting the ball to #1 is a moral imperative.We, and I’m using the royal we, have never seen a Flyer with such a dominating presence. Not to say that Obi can be the difference-maker against the elite teams in the nation, but he’s certainly a horse you can ride to the winner’s circle in conference play.
Ryan Mikesell and Jalen Crutcher were solid, an encouraging sign given the fact that their consistency will be just as important as Obi’s play this season. The two “veterans” will have to step up as Toppin will undoubtedly face doubles and extensive defensive pressure all season. Lastly it was just nice to see Jhery Matos’ smiling face again.
The negatives? Defense, defense, defense. The Flyers gave up a mouth-watering 81 points against the Sycamores. That’s not gonna cut it, folks. Was I surprised that the Flyers failed to close out the game when they had the chance? Absolutely not. This has been a recurring theme throughout the past two seasons and I don’t think it’s going to cease anytime soon. Dayton is going to have to outscore opponents, playing games into the high seventies and low eighties on most nights. The perimeter defense is fine, the interior could use some work. Giving up almost forty points in the paint and getting outrebounded 39-34 leads me to believe that effort is the root of the problem Which, in a sense, is okay — effort can be corrected.
Two more tidbits:
- Dayton was not itself when Dirt Road Johnson was on the court, UD was outscored by eleven with the Florida transfer in the lineup. Not quite a growing concern, but it’s something to nitpick.
- The guard rotation will have to be solidified at some point. My math tells me that there are only 40 minutes to be divided up between Crutch, Watson, Chatman and Cohill. Trey Landers and Matos figure into this as well, but they can be interchangeable on the wing, so primarily you are talking 4-5 guys battling it out for minutes.
Now, onto tomorrow night’s tilt.
A basketball program that was started on a dare, the Charleston Southern Buccaneers come into tomorrow’s game with a 1-2 record, bleeding profusely from a savage 91-47 beating by Furman earlier this week. CSU, currently under probation by the NCAA, got bad news at the close of last season, as their best player, Christian Keeling, opted to use his final year of eligibility as a grad-transfer at North Carolina. I can’t imagine Charleston Southern’s head coach, Barclay Radebaugh (that name comes with a yacht), had much to say when appraised of Keeling’s decision. My guess is Coach Radebaugh smiled, shook his former player’s hand and said “please take me with you.”
Phlandrous Fleming IS on the roster, and that is awesome. The assumption has to be that Phlandrous’ daddy cheated on his mom, right? (“I saw Gina’s man walking around with some ol’ heifer last night. That man is straight up Phlandrous!”) Fleming is the squad’s second-leading scorer and leads the team in rebounds (8.5 rpg). The Bucs top dog is Dontrell Shuler, a Big South All-Freshman selection last season, currently scoring eighteen points a game. Shuler is what we would call a “volume scorer,” as his current shooting line is 45/14/42. The one thing Charleston Southern has going for it is depth, as twelve players are racking up at least ten minutes of play a night. The US military had depth going into Omaha Beach, just saying.
To wrap up, I just want to share some statistics with you: through three games, Charleston Southern is shooting 18% from the three-point line. EIGHTEEN PERCENT. The Buccaneers percentage from the foul-line? 53%. Fucking yikes. This should not be a close game.
Holy hell, Charleston Southern is bad. After beating non-DI Columbia International, the Buccaneers lost to basketball powerhouses North Carolina A&T and Furman by double digits. Their underlying metrics so far this season certainly look like a team that lost to the 337th ranked team on Ken Pom. They shoot poorly (34.6% eFG), turn the ball over a lot (25.1% turnover rate), don’t get to the free throw line (15.7% free throw rate), and shoot it deficiently when they are there (40% FT%). The Bucs seem to only rebound on the offensive end with competence, sporting a 31.9% offensive rebound rate. If you miss a lot of shots, you have plentiful opportunities to get a rebound. I guess. I implied Indiana State was a very mediocre team and Dayton let them hang around last weekend. Charleston Southern is awful. Awful. If the Gem City Cagers allow Charleston Southern to keep things close, there needs to be the forcible removal of the entire UD athletic department.
Last season, Charleston Southern had 6’4” do everything guard Christian Keeling. Keeling averaged 18.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. These numbers attracted the attention of the “dadgummit” general Roy Williams, and, as a grad transfer, Keeling left Charleston for Chapel Hill. With Keeling gone, the cupboard was left bare of acceptable basketball players in the lowcountry. Dontrell Shuler, the incredibly named Phlandrous Fleming, and Ty Jones are the recipients of the shots Keeling took last season and, Christ, they are missing most of them. Shuler, Phlandrous (wat), and Ty have usage rates of 32.4%, 27.4% and 27.9% respectively, the highest for Charleston Southern this season. Their corresponding effective field goal percentages are 38.2%, 28.9%, and 17.6% (HAHAHAHA).
As mentioned earlier, Charleston Southern grabs a commendable amount offensive rebounds — Ty Jones and Phlandrous Fleming gobble up the majority of them, with 11.3% and 8.4% offensive rebounding rates respectively. After last week’s struggles keeping Indiana State off the glass, without being too patronizing to Charleston Southern, Saturday could be almost a 40 minute glorified rebounding drill for Dayton. Charleston Southern will likely miss a ton of shots, so Dayton clearly has the opportunity to make an improvement in the rebounding department. UD could likely put up another poor effort rebounding against Charleston Southern on Saturday and still win by double digits. Against better competition, bad rebounding nights will lead to losses.
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.