Conference: Atlantic 10 (At Large)
NCAA Tournament Seed: 8 (South)
How they got to the Big Dance
The Flyers won the Atlantic 10 regular season championship, finishing the regular season with a 15-3 conference record. Despite losing in the quarterfinals of the A-10 Tournament to Davidson, Dayton easily solidified their resume for the NCAA Tournament, especially since they won the regular season title for their tournament. They swept the regular season series against Rhode Island, split their series against VCU, and won their only meeting against Richmond, the teams the finished 2, 3, and 4 in the conference. As previously mentioned, they have clinched their spot in the Big Dance, even though they didn’t win their conference tournament.
Why they’re a legitimate contender
The Atlantic 10, while a mid major conference by definition, is considered one of the better mid majors in the country, so Dayton winning the the regular season title is no laughing matter. The Flyers averaged 76.8 points per game and only allowed 66.3 points per game in the regular season. They shot 47.2% from the floor and 38.5% from three, both of which are respectable. Also, their RPI is 21 and their strength of schedule is 67, which is better than Wisconsin, a power conference team who is currently ranked in the top-25 and is projected as a 6-seed in the tournament. They have a good chance to make a run in the tournament.
Why they’re not a legitimate contender
Even though the A-10 is one of the better mid-major conferences, it is still a mid-major conference, so Dayton comes at a disadvantage from the beginning. The Flyers also finished the season on a two-game losing streak, including the loss in the A-10 tournament to Davidson, who finished ninth in the conference and has a 17-14 record overall. Another disadvantage for Dayton is their free throw percentage, which as a team, is 69.1%. That is concerning, especially if a game goes down to the wire.
Player to watch: Guard Charles Cooke
The senior from Trenton, NJ led the Flyers with 16.2 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game. He was also second on the team with 3.0 assists per game. He shoots almost 47% from the floor and almost 40% from the 3-point line, which is very good for college. That makes him an outside threat. He is also a senior, so if Dayton gets into the tournament, those will be Cooke’s last games in a Flyers uniform. He’s gonna play with passion and he’s gonna leave everything on the court, so Cooke will be a huge asset for Dayton going into the Big Dance.
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