Dayton likely sealed up an NCAA Tournament bid with their victory over VCU yesterday afternoon. The fact that VCU hasn’t been the same team since Briante Weber went down (the Rams are 4-4 without him) is irrelevant at this point. UD went into a tough environment, took the lead late in the first half and never relinquished it, edging VCU 59-55.
UD’s big three stepped up and led the way, as Sibert, Pierre and Pollard combined to score 48 of Dayton’s 59 points. VCU’s lack of offensive firepower was evident, as no one outside of Treveon Graham (who only managed 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting) posed much of a matchup problem for the Flyers’ undersized frontcourt. Turnovers were the key to the game, as the Cagers turned the ball over a mere eight times against HAVOC.
The Atlantic Ten regular season chase basically comes down to two games — UD/Rhode Island on Tuesday night and VCU/Davidson on Thursday night. The Rams can jump back into consideration with a win at Davidson, as Shaka Smart’s club owns tiebreaking edges over both Davidson and Rhode Island.
UD will have a quick emotional turnaround and faceoff with a URI team that has been streaking as of late — winning nine of their last eleven games. The pressure now falls squarely on the Kingston Rams, as they are still looking for quality wins to build their resume and Dayton has seemingly done enough to seal up a NCAA bid. A betting man would no doubt like Davidson’s chances to win the league outright, with Rhody and the Flyers not far behind.