Dayton Basketball: Flyers on Bubble Watch

By Demario Phipps-Smith
Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

So your favorite team is doubtful to win its conference tournament but you are hopeful it will make the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately for your hopes and expectations, your team probably isn’t going to receive an invitation if it doesn’t win its tourney. Sorry.

Unless your team is the Dayton Flyers. Then you may have a chance (maybe).

UD has been playing some of the country’s best basketball as they have strung together a stretch with a record of 9-1 in the last 10 games. In Dayton’s last three victories, they faced the best of the Atlantic-10 (St. Louis, Richmond and Massachusetts).

The A-10 conference tournament for Dayton is important but it’s not essential. Many basketball enthusiasts have the team as a seed in the tournament already, so it’s apparent that the Flyers have passed the popularity contest part of the selection process. Dayton can lose to the likes of St. Louis or Virginia Commonwealth and still be in contention for the national title.

With the conference tourney set to commence later today, the Flyers are in great position for a NCAA Tournament bid. If UD can make a run of any sort they will increase their national tourney prospects. However, if Dayton loses to Fordham today it will likely be the end of the season.

Led by Jordan Sibert’s 12.6 points per game, the Flyers’ offensive attack is equipped with three other players who score in volume. UD also shoots well and takes smart shots. As a team, Dayton shoots almost 38 percent from the perimeter and 46 percent from the field.

Many of the team’s losses were as impressive a some of the wins. On Nov. 26, a day after a 84-79 defeat of then-No.11 Gonzaga, the No. 18 Baylor Bears challenged the Flyers. UD led for all but 16 seconds of the game and still lost 67-66. Baylor’s Cory Jefferson hit the go-ahead put back to end Dayton’s win streak against ranked opponents at one.

While Dayton isn’t the best team in their conference, the Flyers can play with and beat any team if when they get hot. Look for Dayton to make noise in the A-10 tourney, but if not, don’t look for them at all in the national tournament.

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