#7 Dayton Flyers vs. #10 Wichita State Shockers
Friday at 7:10 PM on CBS
Dayton Flyers (24-7) (15-3 Atlantic 10)
Player to Watch: Scoochie Smith (13.5 ppg, 4.5 apg, 3.1 rpg)
The Flyers go the way Scoochie Smith goes. It is unbelievable how different the team is offensively when Scooch is not on the floor. Dayton has had a very good season and should be very well rested for Wichita State. They lost a few games early because of some injuries but those guys are back and have been playing well. They are the healthiest they have been in years under head coach Archie Miller.
X Factor: Avoid a Slow Start
One thing that Dayton has to do in this game is not get down big early. In games that the Flyers have lost this year, they always start slow and struggle to get all the way back. In their last two games, the Flyers were down 16 in the first half against Davidson and let George Washington start the game on a 16-1 run. These are not ideal starts for any team. Dayton has the ability to come back from these large deficits, but they can’t keep getting off to slow starts and expect to win, especially in the tournament. If the Flyers can get off to a fast start, they have a very good chance at winning.
Wichita State Shockers (30-4) (17-1 Missouri Valley Conference)
Player to Watch: Landry Shamet (11.1 ppg, 3.3 apg, 2.9 rpg)
Landry Shamet, who is a redshirt freshman, is the only player on the Shocker roster who has started every single game this season. Shamet is one of the best shooters on a team that shoots 47% from the field. He is a very important part of this Wichita State team. The Shockers have had a very successful season this year. 3 of their 4 losses have been to tournament teams. The only team they lost to that isn’t a tournament team is Illinois State who you could argue had a good enough resume to get in. Wichita State seems to have been under seeded pretty badly so the Shockers may have a chip on their shoulder coming into this game.
X Factor: Defense
In the 4 losses Wichita State has had this year, they have given up an average of 77 points. Keep in mind that this isn’t the way Wichita State normally plays. The Shockers only give up an average of 62.6 points a game which ranks 13th nationally. If they can keep the Flyers to under 70, they have a really good chance at beating Dayton. If the Flyers score over 80, Wichita State is going to struggle to beat them.
Match-Up to Watch
The matchup to watch in this game is going to be Kyle Davis (Dayton) on either Landry Shamet or Conner Frankamp (Wichita State). Kyle Davis is one of the better defenders that I have seen at the University of Dayton. He has shut down the likes of Kris Dunn, EC Matthews and Stefan Moody. If Kyle Davis can shut down either Shamet or Frankamp, this will give the Flyers a much better chance of winning. If Davis struggles, advantage Wichita State.
Rebounding will play a key factor in this game. The Shockers average 40.7 rebounds a game which ranks 5th nationally. The Flyers only average 34.5 which is good for 230th in the nation. If the Shockers control the boards, the Flyers better hope that they shoot lights out or they could be one and done in the tournament. If the Flyers can somehow control the boards, Wichita State might be in a world of trouble.
Dayton: 72 Wichita State: 69
The Dayton Flyers haven’t lost three consecutive games since the 2013-2014 season. The Flyers have been in a bit of a slump lately but I expect them to be prepared and very fresh for Wichita State. They will be on 8 days of rest which could either help them tremendously or they could be very rusty. On the other hand, the Shockers will be very upset by the under seeding that they were given and could come out firing on all cylinders. Wichita State opens up at -6.5 and honestly, this game could go either way. We will have to wait and see what happens!