Atlantic 10 Conference (20-12, 8-8)
Big Wins: 11/19 vs Georgia Tech (63-59), 12/11 Old Dominion (58-50), 2/6 Xavier (90-65)
Bad Losses: 1/23 at St. Joseph’s (59-60), 2/21 at Duquesne (71-73), 3/6 St. Louis (66-71)
Coach: Brian Gregory
Why They Can Surprise:
Dayton has more depth than most people would know what to do with. Coach Brian Gregory knows how to deal with a team that can play 11 deep. Some Flyer fans have been upset with the rotation schedule, but Coach Gregory always keeps his players fresh and will get the other team very tired while he brings in wave after wave of fresh bodies.
The other strength of this team is rebounding and having a whole lot of players to move in and out of the lineup certainly keeps the players hungry on the glass. Chris Wright and Chris Johnson are the team’s leading scorers, but they are also the team’s best rebounders. Wright is a high flyer who can make some amazing plays in the open court. Wright is a great slasher and has emerged as a smarter, more efficient player during his junior campaign. Johnson, a 6-6 sophomore, actually leads the team in rebounding and is a threat to score from long range or by using his size to get to the basket. With players like Devin Searcy and one of the best glue guys to ever play the game, Kurt Huelsman, the Flyers have plenty of forwards who are capable on the glass.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Most expected Dayton to win the conference this year, but their overall poor shooting has been a big problem. Rob Lowery, Mickey Perry, Marcus Johnson and Paul Williams join Chris Johnson is a capable outside shooters and is the only player on the team shooting over 36 percent from beyond the arc. But it is not just the long range shooting that is bad; it is not much better inside the arc. Just about all those players are capable outside shooters, but they are simply not getting open looks. The problem is a lack of an interior scorer so the opposition can defend the perimeter much easier. That means Huelsman needs to have a good day under the basket and help get the shooters some open looks.
Who To Watch:
London Warren can get open looks for his teammates as well. The senior point guard is no threat to shoot, or score much at all for that matter, but he is a speedy guard who can drive the lane and try to find an open teammate. His defense is also very good, but he has to lead his team through the tough times and heading into the tournament he has done a pretty good job of being a leader and stepping up when the team needs him most.
London Warren, Senior, Guard, 4.6 ppg, 4.1 apg
Rob Lowery, Senior, Guard, 7.8 ppg, 3.7 apg
Marcus Johnson, Senior, Guard, 8.6 ppg, 1.9 apg
Chris Wright, Junior, Forward, 14.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Kurt Huelsman, Senior, Center, 4.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg
John Benson, Freshman, Center, 2.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Chris Johnson, Sophomore, Forward, 11.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg
Mickey Perry, Senior, Guard, 5.7 ppg, 1.9 apg
Devin Searcy, Junior, Center, 4.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Paul Williams, Sophomore, Guard, 5.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.6 (155th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.9 (39, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.3 (135, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.5 (23, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (118, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.7 (184, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.3 (251, 9)
Rebound Margin: 6.6 (15, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (53, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: -0.4 (204, 9)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite Eight loss to Illinois