With a young team and new head coach, Dayton entered this season knowing it would be a rebuilding year of sorts. After making the NCAA tournament each of the last four seasons, the Flyers have found themselves in an uphill battle trying to make their fifth straight. With junior forward Xeyrius Williams out due to injury for much of the non-conference season, Dayton was forced to play with just three upperclassmen: Josh Cunningham, Darrell Davis, and John Crosby. While Cunningham and Davis have played exceptional this season, relying on five freshmen to produce in big minutes always presents challenges. Up and down throughout 2017, Dayton finished its non-conference slate at 6-6 overall.
Despite failing to pick-up any great wins like previous seasons, Dayton did manage to capture a couple quality non-conference victories. Beating Ball State on a buzzer beater in their season opener, the Flyers started off the season with an underrated win. While Ball State is no powerhouse of by any means, the Cardinals win at No. 8 Notre Dame on December 5th. Currently sitting at 8-4 overall, Ball State could very well win the MAC this season.
Outside of Ball State, Dayton does not have another non-conference win that stands out. While Georgia State, Ohio, Akron, Tennessee Tech, and Wagner all have winning records, none will show up as a “good win” at the end of the season. Unless one of those teams goes on some unprecedented run, the Flyers will have to settle for slightly above average non-conference wins this season.
With six non-conference losses, Dayton dropped some games it’s used to winning early in the season. While the Flyers seemingly avoided any disastrous losses, they definitely left some winnable games out there. Falling to Hofstra on a neutral site and Penn at home, Dayton did not win the games it needed to in order to set itself up for NCAA tournament consideration come March. Even losses to Old Dominion and Mississippi State, two very respectable teams, will come back to haunt the Flyers. Ultimately, Dayton avoided any truly “bad losses,” but the Flyers dropped far too many games they expect to win.
Non-Conference Grade: D+
With virtually no good wins and no horrendous losses, the Flyers truly are what their record says. At 6-6 overall, Dayton’s .500 non-conference resume all but eliminates it from NCAA tournament consideration. Baring a miraculous 16-2 run in conference play, the Flyers tournament streak will come to an end this March. That said, there’s always the Atlantic 10 tournament and the chance for an auto-bid. While Dayton’s chance of winning the A-10 tournament looks slim at this point, anything can happen come March. All the Flyers can do for now is concentrate on improving game by game.