Folks, yesterday was rough.
Arguably our biggest rival now, VCU smoked our Flyers in Richmond on Saturday. It wasn’t fun at all. I know, I watched it like the rest of you. Bones Hyland got whatever he wanted. Mike Rhodes kind of ran up the score near the end much later than when Anthony Grant conceded, which was puzzling and a little infuriating, but it is what it is.
I know you are upset with the effort, especially on the offensive end, but I am here to tell you to not give up on them yet. Tomorrow is a new day. We have Saint Louis on the schedule next, and you have to turn the page to the next game and forget what happened in the Siegel Center on Saturday.
First, let me just say that the loss to VCU on Saturday, in the manner in which it happened, was a fluke. I’m not taking anything away from the Rams; they are a very good team and deserved to win that game in the end. But the way they won was an anomaly. That kind of loss will most likely not happen again the rest of the season. Why? The numbers from this game are bonkers and don’t represent the Dayton Flyers this season.
First of all, before Saturday’s game, all three of Dayton’s losses were by 2 or less. You really think the Flyers were going to lose by 23? I would call you a liar. Basically, every team in college basketball from Duke to Indiana loses by a lot sometimes. It’s the nature of the game. It happens to everyone.
Secondly, the numbers from this game compared to each team’s averages were bizarre to say the least. Going into the game, Dayton shot about 37% from three, good for 2nd in the conference. In comparison, VCU is 12th in conference play in defending the three. Prior to the game, I tweeted this out:
Basically, Dayton didn’t have an inside game, VCU did. Dayton had a good three-point game, VCU had trouble defending it. Coincidently, Dayton’s first three shots of the game were from three. All misses, but I was right. Dayton did try to establish its offense from three early on. Unfortunately, none would hit. Even more bizarre, but the Flyers went 0-8 in the first half. They kept trying to shoot threes knowing getting shots inside would be tough to come by. Once again, they couldn’t hit anything, going 0-13 before they connected on one with 7:04 left in the second half. The Flyers would end the game going 3-20 (15%) from the arch. Not to mention, the Flyers are normally a good team from two (56.2% on the season). They shot 40% on Saturday, also wild. Even if VCU’s defense was extremely stout, an offense as effective as Dayton should be able to get more made baskets than that. For a team that is normally very good from both two and three, this screams fluke to me. It just wasn’t their day.
We even said throughout the week that Dayton needed to win the turnover battle to win the game. Looking at the final score, you would think the Flyers coughed up 30 turnovers, and VCU cashed in half of them for points. I sent out this tweet in the pregame on Saturday:
I hate to tell you this, but Dayton won the turnover battle 14-15. Both the Flyers and the Rams had 7 steals each, so VCU technically had more unforced turnovers than the Flyers.
Not only that, but Dayton played pretty decent defense agains VCU. The Rams are #272 in the nation in offensive turnover percentage. It is much less than Dayton, but the Flyers have been much better in conference play, essentially when Rodney Chatman went out with his injury. Not to hate on the guy because I love Rodney, but he has a bit of a turnover problem. Naturally, the Flyers, with the help of Elijah Weaver at the point, have been much better at taking care of the ball in conference play, placing 6th in the A10 in TO%. To compare, VCU is last in conference play.
Also, VCU normally shoots very well from 2, shooting 52.5% on the season. On Saturday, the Flyers held the Rams to 48.6%, which is decent but still not more than they average. From three, VCU shoots an average of 34.3% on the season, the same in conference play. Dayton held VCU to 30.4% from the arch, again a little worse than their season average.
What does this mean? Dayton actually played good defense against the Rams. They got steals, held them under their averages, and won the turnover battle. Ultimately, Dayton’s 23 point loss points to the Flyers inability to buy a bucket. VCU played their normal pressure defense, but the Flyers were able to handle it pretty well. It helps to have your coach be the former coach of the team you are playing against.
The loss really is a fluke. VCU won and deserved to win, but really it just wasn’t Dayton’s day on the offensive end. We saw the same thing with VCU on Wednesday against St. Bonaventure. When the offense can’t get going, things will get ugly no matter how good your defense is. The Flyers mentally checked out against the Rams, which led to the deficit being as large as it was.
Don’t give up on the Flyers. This game was not the story of the normal 2020-2021 Dayton Flyers. Win or lose, they will most likely have better showings the rest of the season. Stay LOWD, Flyer fans.