This Wednesday, December 30th at 8:00 PM, the University of Dayton Flyers take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. The game will be played at the University of Dayton Arena and it will be aired on the CBS Sports Network. The last time these two teams faced was during last year’s season as the Flyers were downed by the Razorbacks in non-conference play. UD lost by a score of 69-55, mainly at the hands of this year’s NBA first round draft choice Bobby Portis, the power forward who was selected 22nd overall by the Chicago Bulls. This game marks the end of non-conference play for the Flyers. As they look ahead to conference play, a win here would solidify their spot as a top team in the Atlantic-10.
Dayton is hot off of a close win against the Miami University Redhawks, where a Kyle Davis jumpshot with three seconds left propelled the Flyers to a 64-63 victory. Charles Cooke’s scoring ability flashed once again as he chipped in 21 points. Something the Flyers need to improve on is their free throw shooting percentage, which has been dismal so far. Against the Redhawks, their FTSP was 56.3%, and their season average so far is 66.2%. As I can recall, late missed free throws have almost hurt the Flyers, as shown against the Redhawks and also in their win against Vanderbilt. The win left Dayton with an impressive non-conference record of 9-2, where the Flyers have had solid victories over Alabama and a ranked Vanderbilt team on the road thus far.
On the other side of the scorer’s table, the Arkansas is coming off a dominating victory over the North Florida Osprey’s with a tally of 97-72, in which you may recall that the Osprey’s were the Flyer’s opponent on December 5th as Dayton won that game with a score of 86-71. Stand out Razorback’s forward Moses Kingsley led both teams in points and rebounds with 22 and 10 respectively. Kingsley also chipped in 5 blocks and 2 assists. The win moves the Razorback’s record in non-conference play to 6-5, where their most notable win comes against a lowly Northwestern State team where they managed to score 117 points to Northwestern’s 78.
Wednesday’s matchup on paper should be favorable for the Flyers, as the kenpom.com rankings currently list UD as the 42nd overall team in college basketball, with Arkansas being ranked as the 82nd ranked team in basketball. On the other hand, the performances put on by the Flyer’s against teams such as Chattanooga and Miami of Ohio makes it seem as if they have had a history to playing down to their opponent’s levels. Odds keepers had Dayton winning by 12 points against Chattanooga, along with them also winning by 16 points against University of Miami. It was shown in both of those games that with UD losing to Chattanooga by 2 points, as well as UD beating Miami of Ohio by only 1 point, that playing down to their opponents has been a tangible idea.
The key thing to look for aside from it potentially being a close game despite the statistics behind this game, is how Dayton will be looking to contain 6’10” sophomore forward Moses Kingsley who has been playing at an outstanding level this season. Kingsley on the season has been averaging the second most time played per game with 27.5 minutes, third most points per game with 16.1, and most rebounds per game with 10.3 on the Razorbacks. He is a walking double-double, and is a threat to take over the game at any given time.
In Wednesday’s matchup between the Flyers and the Razorbacks, I am expecting a Flyer victory, although it will most likely be close with a score of 77-71. Dayton is Arkansas’ first real opponent of the year, and it doesn’t help that the game is at our beloved UD Arena which gives an unfair advantage to the Flyers every time a game takes place there. Go Flyers and Happy New Year.