Dayton improved to 4-0 in Atlantic 10 play on Tuesday night with a rout of Fordham at Rose Hill Gym, 82-58. This was again another win where Dayton won by 12 or more points. The wins the Flyers have are not bad either (according to A10 standards), as they have taken down Duquesne and Davidson in their first two games, who look like the better teams in the A10 to start. Since those two wins, they have downed Saint Joseph’s at home and now Fordham on the road. Dayton is a freight train that no one wants to step in front of at the moment.
The Flyers are led by DaRon Holmes II, who has turned it on to his 7th game in a row with 20+ points. Tonight against Fordham, Holmes went for 32, shooting 12-15 from the field. That is almost unheard of in today’s version of college basketball. Toumani Camara is right behind Holmes, doing it both on the offensive and defensive end. Camara might just win himself a defensive player of the year award in the A10. RJ Blakney has been a great sight for the Flyers as well, who scored 17 against Duquesne and 19 against Saint Joseph’s. Reigning A10 6th man of the year Koby Brea has been a sensation since getting fully healthy from a pre-season injury. Brea went 4-4 from 3 tonight at Fordham and has been yet again a key spark off the bench for the shorthanded Flyers. Not to mention, the Flyers are doing this without their starting guards in Malachi Smith and Kobe Elvis.
The biggest reason why Dayton is so dominant is its defense. Dayton is currently the 16th best defense in the country according to KenPom. Not only that, but they are 6th in defensive FG%, 4th in 3p%, 20th in 2p%, and 21st in block%. Not to mention that they are elite in rebounding, 79th on the defensive glass and 69th (nice) on the offensive glass. This team can have some offensive lapses, but their defense is elite and seems to not let up ever.
Dayton’s schedule is going to get a little tougher in the upcoming stretch, starting with this upcoming Friday night at 9:00 PM where they host the VCU Rams, who are coming off two big wins against Davidson and Loyola. The Flyers will then play Davidson again, this time at home. Then they will travel to Washington DC to face a pesky George Washington team and leading A10 scorer James Bishop. These three games are all very winnable, especially since Dayton is undefeated at home so far this season, not just in conference play. However, the Flyers have a history with random letdowns, and this leaves fans on the edge of their seat.
The 2020 Dayton Flyers proved that 18-0 is possible, but this 2023 team is nowhere near the level of that 2020 team led by Obi Toppin and Jalen Crutcher. I’m sure this team believes they can do it too, especially with how awful the rest of the A10 has been, but focus and determination will be keys to do that in this year’s version of the A10, no matter how bad the conference might be overall.
The Dayton Flyers have all the good vibes right now, but can they keep the train rolling? We will see Friday night for #FridA10 at UD Arena against VCU.