The Flyers open up A10 Tournament play against UMass.
The Dayton Flyers finally know their opponent for their Friday night game in the A10 Tournament: The UMass Minutemen. UMass destroyed a very lack-luster George Washington team on Thursday night by the score of 99-88. UMass got hot early and kept it up all the way through the game, leading by as many as 20. The Colonials really had no concept of defense the entire night, even when they cut the lead to 11 late. The Minutemen got right back on track and put GW to bed with an easy win.
If you remember the last time Dayton played UMass, it was also a rout, just in the way of the Flyers. Dayton took out UMass, 82-61 at UD Arena back on February 23rd. That game was fully in hand by the 12 minute mark in the first half, with Dayton being up by as many as 30 in that game. UMass went on a bit of a late run in the second half to make the loss look a little better, losing at the end of the night by 21. Dayton took care of business that night, and they will look to take care of business again.
Keys to the Game
Let’s go over the keys that Dayton needs to do in order to get another win against UMass:
- Guard the perimeter. UMass loves to take threes, and they will take them often. As GW saw on Thursday, UMass can flat out shoot. They shot 41.4% from three in the game against GW, hitting 12-29 on the night. Dayton can’t let them get open from three at all.
- Hustle, hustle, hustle. UMass out-hustled GW the entire game and looked like they wanted to be there. The Flyers looked lazy at times in that upset loss to La Salle a few weeks ago. That’s how they let the Explorers back in that game. The more energy they bring to the game, the better their outcome will be.
- Win on defense. They have done it all year, but it needs mentioning again: Dayton can win on defense alone. The Flyers have won a lot of tough games with their defense, and they thrive on their defensive play. If Dayton comes out guns a blazing on defense, it is a no doubt Flyer victory.
The consensus around the country right now among the bracketologists is that Dayton is somewhere around the First Four Out/Next Four Out line. Some people believe Dayton needs to win the auto-bid no matter what. I myself am very split and go back and forth on this idea daily. Whether you believe they have at-large chances or not, Dayton has to win this game. It is a Q3 game, so a win does nothing for their resume and a loss completely kills NCAA Tournament chances in the at-large sense. There’s no way another Q3/4 loss is going to help their case. It’s a win or go home scenario in both senses for Dayton.
There’s not much to think about for this game. It is a new season in the minds of most teams, and both teams will be fired up for differing reasons. Dayton obviously believes they can win this tournament, but also believes they have at-large chances to play for. As for UMass, Matt McCall is being let go at the end of the season, and there is a sense of inspiring play for their departing coach. The Minutemen are playing with house-money right now, winning three games in a row in the regular season and tournament combined. That is commendable considering their situation. However, I still think the Flyers have too much talent and can throw out a lot of different looks at UMass to shut them down. I do think the inspired play for Coach McCall makes this game a little closer than last time these two played. When it’s all said and done, it will be another Flyers’ victory.
Dayton 78, UMass 64