Last NCAA Appearance: 2004, First Round loss to DePaul
Coach: Brian Gregory (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
Coach Brian Gregory has the luxury of subbing players in and out liberally. Usually that is done so a team can run and stay fresh. However, in this case, the deep bench is used to keep up the intensity on the other end of the floor. Dayton has 12 players who have appeared in nearly every game and once Coach Gregory figured out who works well in which situation, the Flyers really started to hit their stride.
One player who does not come off the floor too often is Chris Wright. The 6-8 small forward led the team in points and rebounding with 12.8 and 6.7, respectively. His ability to hit the glass from the wing makes this a solid rebounding team. But the forwards will help too. Charles Little is a tad undersized for a power forward, but he will use his large frame to battle for position under the basket. Kurt Huelsman is the starting center and, while he rarely puts up big numbers, he does all the dirty work.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Dayton is a pretty low scoring team, but it is not entirely due to their pace. Overall the Flyers are a very poor shooting team from anywhere on the floor. Marcus Johnson is the team’s main long range shooting threat and the late season injury to Chris Lowery makes the outside shooting even less dependable. The numbers get worse across the board, although players like wing Chris Johnson, who helps more on the glass than he does in the scoring column, will occasionally hit the long ball. That means Dayton will have trouble scoring quickly. It also means the opposition can defend the Flyers from flying to the basket and not have to worry about their outside shooting.
Who To Watch:
Like Huelsman in the frontcourt, London Warren holds together his group on the floor without scoring. The 6-0 point guard dishes out 3.8 assists per game and is the catalyst of the offense. Any scoring he adds is simply a bonus. Having two starters who do not score is a small concern, but Chris Johnson coming in off the bench, the Flyers certainly have another scoring option. Warren is also a great defender and spearheads the team’s hustle and hardworking attitude. It is that attitude that could win them games in March. Dayton will not be fancy or that pleasing to the eye, but they have gotten the job done all year long.
London Warren, Junior, Guard
Marcus Johnson, Junior, Guard
Chris Wright, Sophomore, Forward
Charles Little, Senior, Forward
Kurt Huelsman, Junior, Center
Chris Johnson, Freshman, Guard
Mickey Perry, Junior, Guard
Devin Searcy, Sophomore, Center
Paul Williams, Freshman, Guard
+ Following final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!