On November 9th, 2021 I returned to the Arena for the first time in 612 days. It was a moment I had been counting down the days for, the closer it got, the more anxious I became. The day finally arrived and the vibes could not have been better going into the UIC game. The Vibes dipped dramatically upon the tip off of the game but Dayton pulled off a win. Great, we are off. I missed the game this past Saturday against Umass Lowell due to a wedding. I followed the score a little but was shocked to pull my phone out and see that Dayton lost to Umass Lowell. Vibes are not great. Doesn’t matter who Dayton puts on the floor, there is no excuse for losing to Umass Lowell at home. However, you can chalk it up to one night where things got weird. I returned to the arena tonight for the second time this season last night and effectively walked into a funeral.
Dayton welcomed the mighty Lipscomb Bison into the Arena on Wednesday night and proceeded to put on one of the most egregious displays I have seen from a Dayton basketball team in my time following the program (20+ years running). It was an embarrassment and frankly a waste of mine and the rest of fine folks who were in the stands time. A 78-59 defeat at the hands of Lipscomb (who led wire to wire by as much as 23) after already losing to Umass Lowell should cause all of your alarms to be set at DEFCON 1. This isn’t a good basketball team and they do not carry themselves as one. Blame whoever you want for this debacle but know one thing, this is an absolute debacle.
If you think this is where I stop and break the game down, well my good reader, you would be incorrect. I’m using this to vent since I missed the rapid reaction on the podcast (which you should go listen to, BTW) but it’s also to let everyone know that Dayton is about to be disrespected and there isn’t anything we can say or do about it.
NCAA tourney chance? Nope. A10 front runner? No sir. 20+wins? Not looking good, Jim! It was a demoralizing night but I will give you a glimmer of light through an absolutely desolate dungeon and that is Scoochie Smith’s younger brother Malachi Smith. Mali has been the lone bright spot from this Flyer squad this season. The moment isn’t too big for him and he belongs on that floor. That shouldn’t surprise anyone considering what his bloodline is. He’s a true freshman and he makes some true freshman mistakes but you can see the potential to be great in him. That is going to lead me to the other young pups on the team. Da’ron and Mali are going to play a lot, but if this is what we are going to get on a nightly basis from the rest of the crew, I’m ready to see what Greer and Kaleb Washington can do, it can’t get any worse.
Anthony Grant said it himself, the expectation at the University of Dayton is to compete for championships and make runs at the NCAA tourney every year. When the coaches and university state that is the goal, that is the goal the fan base should hold them accountable for. We are not going to reach those goals this season and that folks is a failure of a season. Winter is coming, Flyer fans, it’s best we all brace for it. To use a Formula 1 analogy, Dayton’s season ended on the 1st corner of the 1st lap of the race. Dayton now faces a climb that we haven’t seen in sometime. They are 1-2 for the first time since the early Brian Gregory years and it doesn’t get any easier. The Flyers welcome Austin Peay to the Arena on Saturday and with the way things are going that is no sure thing. Then we travel to Orlando for the ESPN Events Invitational and a date with Miami U. The season is either going to be turned around there or the dirt will officially be over the casket. I will be in attendance for it and I know which one is my bet. But hey, if you’re going to watch the 2021-22 Dayton Flyers, you might as well enjoy some nice weather and 54 holes of golf.
Wear Red, Be Lowd folks…might be all we have at this point.