In the last few recaps, I tried to avoid my typical pontificating with the hopes that this very article would be written. Well, that, and your attention spans are annoyingly short, so I start to get cold sweats when I eclipse 1000 words. You people are hard to please. Any-who, there are 13 games down, 18 to go, and I still wish the non-con break was the middle point of the CBB season, but it’s similar to baseball’s All Star Game in that it’s seen as a logical middle point inherently, without that actually being the case.
For the first time in many years, what I see is a Dayton team that should fear no team and no venue in this league, and it is for this specific reason that I have been satisfied if not complacent with UD’s standing in this league. It has been well documented the Flyers have produced the 6th most efficient offense in the country, and beaten the brakes off lesser competition, something this program has struggled to do consistently in my lifetime. However, there are plenty of things to point to that need work, while acknowledging (like AG did after the UNF game) that this team is basically right where they need to be as far as progression under the microscope of the season. UD still is struggling to get to the line (whether you blame this on the season’s officiating is up to you) and have been maddeningly consistent in their turnover numbers. Since the Flyers left for Maui, they have committed between 12-16 turnovers in every contest. When you consider half of these games we’re against bad teams, and the other half against Power 6/tournament teams…that’s not great!
When the season started, we astutely pointed out on this site that the key to Dayton’s offense would be finding a third consistent scorer, and UD has been so goddamn deep that it’s come from some combination of Trey, Rodney, Chip Mikesell or Ibi every night. Through 13 games, Ibi has scored in double figures six times, (including his 30-point night against Grambling), Chip has equaled that total, and Trey/Rodney have done it seven times each. It’s worth echoing again that this team cannot survive on Obi Toppin alone. The four names in this paragraph have been the propelling force to ensure pressure is brought off Obi, and space can be created, because they all must be respected offensively. In 5-of-13 games so far we have seen double digit contributions from 3/4 of this group, which is a true testament to how UD can spread you out and attack. This all goes without saying that Crutcher has been the obvious #2 scorer behind Obi all season, and his consistent contributions have been most pleasing. He will graduate next year as one of the finest point guards to ever suit up in the Gem City, no lie.
The way I see it, if UD were to hypothetically go undefeated in A10 play, I think the seed ceiling in the tournament would be four. If the Flyers were to limp to 4 or 5 losses in conference play, the floor is nine. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Let’s see what the other jamokes have to say…
First up, the hottest takes from Donny D:
Donny D: 1.) Obi has gotten all the press but Ibi is the team’s MVP. I was told to write a paragraph. That sounds like a lot of work. Just trust me on this one. Don’t @ me
2.) Dayton goes 15-3 in the conference with losses at Saint Louis, at Rhode Island, and home to Davidson. Rhode Island wins the league on tiebreakers. The Flyers then lose in the A10 semis and get a 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. And lose first round to someone like Penn State and I am angry all summer long and wonder what could have been. This is my story. This is the punishment I bear for being an Ohio sports fan.
I whole heartedly disagree with both of these on every fundamental level, but that’s OK, it’s Donny. On to Blackburn…
Blackburn: Dayton’s non-conference schedule allowed it to burst on the national scene. Their performance in Maui, particularly against Kansas, gave the Flyers the opportunity to show college basketball fans and pollsters that the Flyers were a legit contender. The victory against Saint Mary’s was further proof that UD belongs, a nice resume building win that will pay dividends down the road. The Colorado loss, however, really feels like the one that got away. It was Dayton’s last chance to add some sheen to their resume. Unfortunately, as we are seeing, the loss to the Buffs puts a firm ceiling on Dayton’s tournament seeding prospects (and yes, discussing UD’s seeding for the NCAA Tournament on January 2nd is a bit of a mindfuck. Let’s enjoy it.). As a result, UD’s seed line probably lies somewhere in the 4-6 range depending on their showing in A10 play. In a sense, Dayton can only hurt itself over the next 18 games, as there isn’t a game that will move the meter left on the schedule. So what does this mean going forward? Your Flyers need to lay waste and napalm the Atlantic Ten. Literally.
And finally, my Chicago counterpart, KT made a plethora of prognostications:
– We won’t even truly come together as a team/unit until late February. The best show is yet to come.
Drew will be handling the LaSalle recap, where he will also have his chance to be heard. Stay hydrated tonight, wear red, and of course…be LOWD.