As we've done with every Big East NCAA Tourney matchup, we reached out to our friends at Mid-Major Madness for a Dayton-centric preview for the showdown with Providence
BECB: Dayton, obviously, had to win a game in the First Four for the opportunity to play Providence. Do you see this as more of an advantage (they already have a game under their belt), or a disadvantage (they have to travel again and get ready for a whole new opponent) for the Flyers?
MMM: I think it is an advantage because they get the jitters out of the way. Even if you have been there before, you still get nervous, because it is one loss and you are out. You don't get to come back tomorrow. Plus, Dayton got the game at home, and will only be traveling to Columbus which is about an hour away.
They could actually probably drive home each night and sleep in their own beds if they wanted.
So a big positive all around.
BECB: Dayton is, all things considered, a bad rebounding team (300th in the nation with 31.5 per game), yet they still manage to hold their opponents to 60.7 points per game, 40th in the nation. How are they able to be so effective defensively yet so bad on the glass?
MMM: It is all about being face up defenders in that man defense. The Flyers also like to slow the pace against their opponents -- not to the level of a Northern Iowa, or Wisconsin, but enough to keep the game under control.
Dayton actually does a lot better on the defensive end with their rebounds, as they find themselves in the paint with the offensive players. They are that good on being on the ball defensively that they can alter the shots even if they don't do well at blocking them.
When you do that, you get a lot of easy boards, and they fight hard for the others. It won't just be an absence on the glass.
BECB: Kris Dunn was the Big East's Co-Player of the Year, Co-Defensive Player of the Year, and is the conference's only projected first round draft pick at the moment. He averages 15.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 7.6 APG, alone with 2.8 steals per game. Does Dayton have anyone that can hope to slow him down?
MMM: My guess is that you will see Kyle Davis pick him up on defense. Davis gives up some size on Dunn, but he is the best face up defender on the team. He doesn't get involved in the offense as much so he will be perfect concentrate on slowing down Dunn.
Plus Dayton is good on the defensive switch off of screens, and either Jordan Sibert or Scoochie Smith could pick up Dunn and still hope to contain him with help inside.
BECB: In addition to Dunn, Providence also has the Big East's leading scorer in LaDontae Henton. Henton averaged 19.7 points per game and also 37 minutes per game this season. Will Dayton be able to stop Henton while also stopping Dunn, or do they have to just focus on one and hope the other stays in check?
MMM: I think you could see in the Boise game that they are content to let one guy get his points if they can stop the rest. The biggest issue is that they can't foul because of a short bench. So they have to let you go if they screw up on the defense.
I think you will see them contain both Dunn and Henton, but that doesn't mean they won't score.
If Dayton can keep both of them at about five points off their averages, they Flyers have a chance.
BECB: Ultimately, who wins and why?
MMM: I want this to be Dayton. They have seemed like a team of destiny this year, especially when you have a short bench, no height, and still manage to finish second in the Atlantic 10 (which got hosed on seeding all around). I want to see Sibert play one more game after Friday. I want this team to get to the next weekend and another Sweet 16.
I just am not sure they have enough manpower to do it this time. They have to not get into foul trouble like they did against Boise, because it will hurt them more against the Friars.
I am picking Providence, but it is close, 69-64