An old Atlantic 10 and Ohio rivalry will be renewed on Sunday afternoon when the Xavier Musketeers face off against the Dayton Flyers in the finals of the 2015 Advocare Invitational.
Having met every year from the 1995-96 season to the 2012-13 season, the rivalry between the Musketeers and Flyers has been dormant for the past 2+ years.
But now, after the Musketeers blew past USC and the Flyers got through Monmouth in the semifinals, these two programs will collide in Orlando in what should be a hotly contested affair.
How to watch, listen or stream
Game Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Online Streaming: Streaming is available for this telecast via the WatchESPN app.
Radio: WKRC 550 AM (Xavier) || Newstalk 1290 WHIO (Dayton)
Odds: Xavier opened as a 3.5-point favorite via OddsShark. The line's moved down to 2.5 in most locations.
Records ATS: Xavier: 3-3 ATS || Dayton: 3-2 ATS
O/U: The o/u for this matchup opened up at 146.5.
Xavier and Dayton have built up a rich history against one another. The Musketeers and Flyers will meet for the 161st time on Sunday afternoon in the Advocare Invitational final. The Flyers hold an edge in the series, leading 85-75 win the win-loss column.
The Musketeers, though, have won 14 of the last 19 matchups according to Xavier's game notes.
Also, per those game notes, Sunday marks the third occasion that Xavier and Dayton have faced each other in a tournament. Previously, the Musketeers and Flyers met in the 2004 Atlantic 10 Championship game as well as the 1958 NIT Championship Game at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
3 things to watch
1. Scoochie scoots onward: Dayton Flyers junior guard Scoochie Smith was a catalyst in his team's victory over the Monmouth Hawks on November 27. Smith, a New York native and Putnam Science Academy grad, scored a career-high 19 points in 33 minutes. This comes after an 11 point outing against the Iowa Hawkeyes the day before. How the Musketeers contain Smith could provide the difference as he has been one of the Flyers' most impactful players to this point in the season.
2. Breaking through Dayton's stifling defense: The Musketeers will face a big test in the form of the Flyers from a defensive standpoint. Thus far, the Flyers are 28th in the nation in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, 38th in eFG% allowed, and 4th in 2-point FG% allowed, as well. Archie Miller's squad has omitted just 94.9 points per 100 possessions this season, a stellar mark and the best that Xavier has seen thus far this season. If there's one area of attack that Xavier should emphasize it's along the perimeter. Dayton's weakness has been 3-point defense so far, as they're allowing 37.3 percent of 3-point field goal attempts to be converted. And teams are letting it fly vs. Dayton, with their 3-point rate against at a staggering 37.5 percent.
3. Winning the Rebounding Game: In all of their games this year, Xavier has won in the OR% and DR% battles. It comes as no surprise that they're statistically one of the best teams in OR% and DR% this season, 22nd and 10th in those respective categories via KenPom.com. Dayton has been a good but not great team in those categories this season so it's fair to say that the Musketeers hold an advantage in the rebounding department. The play of both Jalen Reynolds and emerging big man James Farr have been the biggest reasons for Xavier's stout rebounding abilities. Farr is the 10th best player in the country in OR% while his teammate, Reynolds, is 35th in the nation. If X continues their rebounding successes on Sunday, it could mean a win over their in-state rival and an Advocare Invitational Title.