The Dayton Flyers will most likely make their 18th tournament appearance, 4th in a row, when the brackets come out on Sunday night. They are .500 in the tournament with a record of 19-19. The Flyers were the Atlantic 10 regular season champions but were upset in the conference tournament in the quarterfinals.
Strength: Experience and Defense
Dayton has a senior heavy lineup that will help them in the tournament. Three of the five seniors, Kyle Davis, Kendall Pollard and Scoochie Smith will participate in their fourth straight NCAA tournament, a school record. Charles Cooke will be participating in his second straight. This class has also set a school record for most wins with 102. Davis, Pollard and Smith were freshmen on the Elite Eight team of 2014. This team knows how to win and they know how to win in the tournament. Some people overlook experience and don’t think it matters all that much but experience can be a huge asset.
Dayton has always been known as a defensive team under head coach Archie Miller. This year, the Flyers rank 25th in the nation in defensive efficiency. They only allow a little over 66 points a game and force a turnover on 18.4% of plays which is good for 38th best in the country. Dayton gets almost 8 steals a game which is good for 33rd best in the country and they have a steal on 9.5% of possessions, good for 27th best in the country.
Weakness: Inside Presence
The Flyers don’t have a legitimate big man this year. Steve McElvene, a 7 footer out of Indiana, was the first big man that they had in a while but he passed away in May leaving the Flyers undermanned again. Kendall Pollard can play inside but is prone to foul trouble. Sophomore forward Josh Cunningham still doesn’t look 100% when he plays, but he can be effective at times. Cunningham is also prone to get into foul trouble. He tore a ligament in his ankle in November and just started playing a few weeks ago. Sophomore forwards Xeyrius Williams and Ryan Mikesell are 6’8″ and 6’7″ respectively, but they aren’t really bruisers and aren’t really inside players. A matchup with a dominant big man could doom the Flyers.