After a nice 21-point win on Wednesday night at UD Arena, the Dayton Flyers are looking good coming down the stretch in the A10 conference season. The Flyers beat the Duquesne Dukes on Wednesday night in a game that was out of hand before halftime. This seemed like a get-right game by the Flyers, who lost a tough game on the road at Saint Louis over the previous weekend along with some emotional fireworks at the end to top off the loss. But, as we all know, that’s just what comes with the territory of the Arch Baron Cup.
Dayton now hosts George Washington at home on Saturday, a 2:00 matinee at good ol’ University of Dayton Arena. The beer will be flowing, the sweaters will be pressed, and the fans will be LOWD. If you recall, the Flyers beat the Colonials back in the second game of the season by a score of 83-58. Dayton controlled the game from start to finish, never leaving a doubt that they were going to win. That also felt like a get right game after the tough opening game loss to VCU.
Going into that game, it felt like the vibes around the A10 had George Washington as the worst team in the conference. Since then, things have changed quite drastically. Regardless of what anyone might think about them, the Colonials have become frisky and rattled off some key wins in conference play, winning 5 of 9 to include George Mason, Rhode Island, La Salle, Fordham, and UMass. They also took conference-leader Davidson to the wire, losing to the Wildcats by 5 just this past Wednesday. Although those wins are against the bottom half of the conference, they still won more games than many around the A10 community thought they would at this point. GW stands at a reasonable 5-5 in conference play and 9-13 overall on the season.
While the defense for GW is still atrocious, good for 12th in the A10, the offense is decent. The Colonials are shooting above the national average from three and are average in effective FG% on offense. They are definitely a team that can be hot or cold depending on what side of the bed they wake up on. For how good Dayton’s defense has been, their main weakness continues to be 3 point defense, giving up 33% from the arc in A10 play. That’s not too big of a deal, but it is where George Washington is going to try to score many of their points against the Flyers. Otherwise, Dayton’s defense should be enough to wither down GW. Let’s hope the offense has the same performance as the first time around.
I don’t need to go into much further; Dayton is favored to win by 16 on Ken Pom, and I firmly expect it to be an even bigger margin than that, considering that Dayton won by 25 last time on the road. Although, George Washington is definitely a frisky kind of team now, and they have a lot more confidence than when the Flyers saw them a month ago. Nonetheless, it’s definitely a “get in, win, and get out” kind of game for Dayton. Nothing more is required by the Flyers on Saturday.
Looking at the bigger picture, Dayton has a golden opportunity to rack up some wins coming down the stretch in A10 play. Here’s how the rest of the schedule shakes out after that win over Duquesne:
vs George Washington
at Rhode Island
at Saint Joseph’s
at La Salle
Looking at this remaining schedule, I can’t help but lean a little more optimistic about the Flyers chances to go AT LEAST 6-1. The games in Philadelphia against Saint Joe’s and La Salle are a little worrisome, and that’s only because of the past losses than many Dayton teams before this year endured on Hawk Hill and Tom Gola Arena. Let’s just get there first.
The plan is simple from here on out for Dayton: Take care of business against the remaining inferior opponents, and secure a top 4 seed for the Atlantic 10 tournament. Anything else (winning the A10 regular season title, winning the A10 tournament, at-large consideration) can be discussed when it is viable to do so.
Go Flyers. Wear Red. Be LOWD.