A week off couldn’t have come at a better time for Flyer Fanatics. After the Mississippi State game last Saturday, everyone needed a little space, some time to regroup, maybe spend some time with loved ones and play video games shirtless while your significant other is on Zoom calls all day. Of course, a dead period will lead to news. Let’s break it down Twitter style.
Anthony Grant said he is waiting to hear from UD's compliance department on status of Elijah Weaver. Should know if he can play within 24-48 hours, he said. But they told him 7-10 days ago, if the NCAA allows transfers to play, be ready for it.
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) December 17, 2020
As you likely know by now, the NCAA announced earlier this week that any “student-athlete” with a pulse looking for a waiver would be wise to apply for one now (Although, if I not mistaken, this was the stance prior to the announcement. This feels like the NCAA is lightly tapping maladroit coaches on the shoulder to get their attention — “You guys okay? Did you remember to take care of this?). Obviously this is germane to Dayton due to Elijah Weaver’s dangling eligibility issue. Given that the NCAA is selflessly granting everyone a “free year” of eligibility, it would seem that someone in Weaver’s position would be afforded a waiver without any hesitation. This, unfortunately, raises the question as to why UD hasn’t applied for a waiver until now, but I’ll let you speculate on the reasoning behind that situation. Weaver’s participation this season would be key — another body, a fresh one!, with the ability to increase Dayton’s depth and experience. We shall see. If Weaver is denied, just know some fuckery was going on behind the scenes that we will never get the full story on.
Luke Frazier did not make the trip to Atlanta with Dayton. He had his appendix removed Thursday. Trainer Mike Mulcahey says he’s in the recovery process and looks forward to returning to the court when ready. Flyers play Mississippi State at 3 today.
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) December 12, 2020
Jablo has provided some clarity on the Luke Frazier, and it’s not great. When Frazier wasn’t in attendance in Atlanta, I figured he either had (a) hit the ol’ dusty trail leading to the blinding light of the portal, or (b) suffered a severe infection from splinters repeatedly piercing his gluteus maximus. It turns out that Frazier had an appendectomy. How did a 18 year-old’s appendix get into such a state of disrepair? Let’s see what the world wide web has to say:
The only takeaway from this excerpt is that Frazier sat on the bench for such a prolonged period of time, became so solitary, that his body overcompensated and involuntarily held in his bowel movements. A body at rest tends to stay at rest, it’s science. In layman’s terms, Frazier’s ass was so plastered to the bench that his anal cavity was not getting enough oxygen and thus became inflamed, engorged and possibly defaced forever. I wouldn’t expect to see Frazier play any meaningful minutes this season, if he plays at all. He will be fortunate just to produce solid fecal waste at this point.
Anthony Grant said Dayton is "hopeful" it will have freshman Mustapha Amzil on campus for the second semester.
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) December 17, 2020
This is a good one, it just screams “Dayton.” To give you some context, UD’s first semester ends today, December 18th. If Amzil was academically eligible, he would have the ability to be on campus anytime between today and the start of the second semester, which begins on January 11th (remember that date for possible future references). So, it’s the last day of the first semester and Grant still doesn’t know if Amzil will be on campus next semester?? How is this even possible? Wouldn’t you have to clear up travel, housing, transcripts, etc., waaaaay before today? This doesn’t seem like the type of situation that gets rectified in a day or two. There’s so much to ponder about this statement, and, honestly, it’s one of the most fun aspects of following Dayton hoops. You are always in the dark, nothing makes sense and followers of the program eventually lose interest.
Another @DaytonMBB note from today’s Zoom session is that, #ICYMI, Dayton is actively looking for a game to play between Saturday’s vs. Ole Miss at UD Arena and their A-10 opener Dec. 30 vs. La Salle. Look for early next week – potentially Monday or Tuesday. @WHIORadio
— John Bedell (@JBedellWHIO) December 17, 2020
Last piece of news — Dayton is actively, their definition may vary from yours, searching for an opponent to fill the gap between Ole Miss and the conference opener against LaSalle on December 30th. As Sully informed the unwashed masses this week, Dayton has already rejected an invitation to play against Kent State sometime next week — the Flyers also turned down a game against Ohio State earlier in the month. I’m not sure what UD is searching for, they are like a confirmed bachelor pining for Mrs. Right. Just don’t wait too long, Daytona. Eventually you are 55, living on a house boat and wearing sweatpants to strip clubs. Tirelessly lingering for the perfect match to fortuitously come along rarely turns out well.Additionally, we still have no answer as to RJ Blakney’s age. Until we have further information, the case remains open.
I checked out Ole Miss’ game against Middle Tennessee on Wednesday night — shoutout to Jordan Davis — and it was immediately clear that defense, DEFENSE, is Ole Miss’ primary focus. The Rebels play an annoyingly intense brand of D, it’s like going up against VCU without all the residual scratch marks. The last POWER FIVE team to play a game, Ole Miss is 4-0 against a murder’s row of Jackson State, UNC Wilmington, Central Arkansas and Middle Tennessee. While the competition has been less than stellar, the Rebs have only allowed 52 points per game. Opponents are averaging a turnover on 31% of their possessions. Needless to say, UD will have to protect the ball better than they have so far this season or things will go haywire pretty quickly.
Devontae Shuler is the Rebs’ main cog on both ends of the floor, he leads the team in every conceivable category outside of blocks and rebounds. Unfortunately for Ole Miss, he appears to be the only player they have that can create his own offense. Romello White, a 6’8″ grad-transfer from Arizona State, is the main scoring threat downlow. Unlike any of the bigs UD has faced this season, White is an active participant on the offensive end — he can play with his back to the basket, has a nice little baby hook and has quickness rarely seen from men his size. I’d expect White to be a major factor against Dayton U.
As to be expected with any team that employs nuts-to-butts defense, Ole Miss has some decent depth. Eight players play at least fifteen minutes a game and Head Coach Kermit Davis routinely rolls out 10-11 bodies a game. The Rebels run a basic 4 out 1 in motion offense, spacing out the floor for Shuler and dump downs to White. While not a great half-court team, Ole Miss makes up for by generating around 24 points per game on turnovers. Expect another slugfest for Dayton against a team from the Magnolia state.
What say you, Matt?
In this ephemeral non-conference season, the Flyers toughest test so far comes in the form of the Ole Miss Running Rebels. While it has been against mediocre opposition, it is apparent from their statistical profile that Ole Miss dominates the rim on both sides of the ball. Success for the Runnin’ Rebels starts and ends at the hoop, and, so far, it has produced impressive offensive and defensive overall metrics.
Though it has come entirely against 200+ KenPom ranked teams, Ole Miss has suffocated teams on defense, oftentimes literally. Opponents have netted a meager 38.6% effective field-goal rate and have turned the ball over on 30.2% of possessions. Whether you’re quoting Stan Van Gundy or the current President, Ole Miss has built a fucking wall around the basket so far. 13.8% of opposition attempts at the rim have been blocked or altered. Teams are scoring on just 46.6% of their attempts at the rim against the Rebels, which equates into a miserly 0.93 points per possession. As a reminder, A10 teams averaged 1.18 points per possession on shots near the rim last season. There may not be many easy buckets for the Flyers on Saturday. Will it result in another Jordy three-point attempt? We can only hope not. (Honestly, I want to see some more–Blackburn).
Along with treating the paint like a 10 at Tim’s handles your clumsy pick-up lines two walls deep, the Rebels play great defense over the entire court. They are among the current top 30 teams in turnover percentage, steal percentage and non-steal turnover percentage. Ole Miss has the ability to restrict scoring in the paint without having to concede attempts from the perimeter, allowing just 33.5% of field-goal attempts from three-point range. Rebel opponents have taken their highest percentage of shots from the midrange, evidence that Ole Miss are forcing opponents into tough shots when they aren’t just taking the ball from them. In short, Ole Miss is not the opponent you want to see on the other side of the floor when you are in the midst of working out your turnover issues.
As tough as it’s been for teams to score against the Rebs in the paint, Kermit Davis’ squad have thus far been very proficient scoring early and often at the rim. The Rebels have scored on 73.9% of their field-goal attempts in the paint, which results in an impressive 1.48 points per possession. Sully declared that he was sick of hearing about Obi and last year’s team, nevertheless, with all due apologies — for comparison’s sake, last year’s Flyers squad converted 71.5% of their attempts at the rim last year, averaging 1.43 points per possession on those shots. So yeah, given that comparison, Ole Miss is scoring the ball rather efficiently at the hoop.
As daunting as those numbers at the rim are for Ole Miss, the positive news is that the Rebels are not, on paper, an above-average perimeter shooting team. They have only managed to hit 24% of their three-point attempts this season, which is near the bottom of D1, 301st in the country. In addition, Ole Miss has connected on only 33% of their two-point jump shots, which is precipitously less efficient than most teams this season. Of course, laying brick houses that would make the Commodores proud leads to plenty of offensive rebounding opportunities. And, as you have probably guessed, the Rebels are particularly proficient on the offensive glass, snagging an impressive 31.5% of available offensive rebounds.
While as a team Ole Miss stinks as far as knocking down shots from the perimeter is concerned, guard Devontae Shuler is an Ole Miss outlier (this is also what they call any woman with over 15% body fat in Oxford). The senior guard has connected on ten threes in twenty-one attempts and his 47.6% 3-point percentage easily paces the Rebels. In fact, Shuler has hit more threes than the rest of his teammates combined this season. Dayton will be able to go under screens for nearly every Ole Miss player on the court in order to prevent them from getting to the rim. The clear exception to that will be Devontae Shuler.
Luis Rodriguez, Romello White, and KJ Buffen will be the three interior players Dayton will have to worry about. Rodriguez is a 6’6” rebounding and defending machine, with a 7.5% offensive rebound rate, 23.2% defensive rebound rate, and a 4.4% steal rate, all of which are among the best on the Ole Miss squad. White has yet to miss any field-goal attempt at the rim and is presently 34th in the entire country in the rate he gets to the free throw line. Buffen leads the Rebels in points per 100 possessions at 127.1. It’s going to be tough sledding trying to keep these guys out of the paint and off the offensive glass.
We’ve been harping all season on Dayton’s lack of offensive punch and tendency to turn the ball over. While it’s transparent that Ole Miss does not have the scoring panache to compete with top-level college basketball squads, a team like Dayton would appear to be the type of opponent that makes the Rebels comfortable. I have a strong suspicion that this game will mirror the Mississippi State game, and it pains me to say that. I’m not sure any of us are prepared to re-enter the Brian Gregory era again so soon.
So prepare for a slog, prepare for a televised basketball abortion. In the end my guess is that Ole Miss is going to force a bunch of turnovers, leading to easy buckets and that will be enough for the Rebs to take home the glory. The one saving grace may be Ole Miss’ tendency to over pursue on defense, leading to good looks for perimeter shooters. Marshall Henderson, yes, is a grad assistant on the Rebel bench, and certainly his level-headed direction is worth at least five points for Ole Miss. Advantage, Rebels. Everything points to a close, low-scoring contest — let’s call it Ole Miss 66, Flyerz 63. #LOWD