Game of the Night
Dayton Flyers vs. Richmond Spiders
Dayton has not been playing its best basketball by any means as of late. The Flyers have now lost 3 of their last 4 including their most recent game, a home matchup with the injury-depleted Rhode Island Rams. After two consecutive less-than-stellar weeks, it’s safe to say that Dayton is officially in a slump. Heading into March, this is not the way the Flyers want to be playing. Part of the reason this team has been struggling so much is because junior Kendall Pollard has been out with an injury. He missed 4 consecutive games before returning to the lineup against Rhode Island. Clearly he still isn’t 100% as he was limited in minutes and went just 2-10 from the field. It sure would help the Flyers if they got him back to full health before the postseason begins.
The Flyers will get two teams from Richmond this week; after traveling to play the Spiders on Tuesday, they’ll turn right around and host VCU on Saturday. These last two games of the regular season couldn’t get much more important for Dayton. While the Flyers are almost definitely a lock for the NCAA Tournament, they’re currently trying to gain some momentum before the Atlantic 10 Tournament begins. It’ll be interesting to see if Kendall Pollard makes any sort of progression this week. If he can reassert himself as the dominant player that he is, there’s a good chance Dayton will get back to its usual ways. Another important player to watch will be leading scorer Charles Cooke. He struggled last week against Saint Louis when he went just 1-9 from the floor for 3 points. He’s been one of the most important pieces to this team, and if he struggles, it could be a long night for the Flyers.
Richmond certainly hasn’t performed as well as it would have liked to in the conference portion of this season, but regardless, the Spiders will try to gain some momentum before heading off to Brooklyn. In Richmond’s most recent home loss to George Washington, it committed 25 team fouls, leading to 24 made free throws by the Colonials. In a game that was otherwise pretty even, this was the difference-maker that allowed George Washington to leave with the win. This has been somewhat of an issue for the Spiders lately. They committed 20 against Davidson two weeks ago and 19 against Duquesne last week. Staying out of foul trouble has to be a key for this team in these last few games of the season. If Richmond can do that, it can undoubtedly get the home win over the struggling Flyers who are slipping further and further in the projected NCAA Tournament field.
Elsewhere in A-10 Action
George Mason Patriots vs. George Washington Colonials
George Washington seems to have fallen into the unfortunate reality of “Brooklyn or Bust” at this point in the season. After losing a crucial home game to VCU this past week, it’s becoming more and more likely that the Colonials will have to win the A-10 Tournament in order to hear their names called on Selection Sunday. As far as the rest of the regular season goes, the key will be avoiding any bad losses. If the Colonials were to lose at home to George Mason, that would completely remove them from having a chance at an at-large bid. George Mason has been sneaky good this season, winning big games at random times. The Patriots recently pulled the upset win over VCU last week in Fairfax. As far as postseason hopes go, the Patriots really have little to no chance. That being said, they’re showing a lot of fight here at the end of the season. Don’t be surprised to see George Washington really get a run for its money in the second round of this rivalry game.