The Dayton Flyers finish the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 10-2 record after topping Arkansas 85-81 in overtime on Wednesday. The Flyers are off to a good start to the season and grabbed a few solid wins before conference play. The Flyers enter the Atlantic 10 with a a very good chance at winning the league and getting a very good seed in the NCAA Tournament. Their first game will be a real test though, as they’ll go on the road to face Duquesne on Saturday.
The Flyers got their biggest win of the season when they took down then #21 Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Commodores led by as many as 16 in the first half, but Dayton managed to claw its way back slowly but surely to get the road win. Though Vanderbilt no longer resides in the top 25, it should be an NCAA Tournament team come March, and the Flyers’ road win will look very good on their resume.
Speaking of beating teams to build an impressive resume, it’s easy to forget that Dayton also took down Iowa in the AdvoCare Invitational. The Hawkeyes have emerged as one of the better teams in the Big Ten this year, especially after their recent win over #1 ranked Michigan State. In addition, the Flyers have beaten Monmouth, Alabama, William & Mary, and Arkansas, all of which are top 100 teams according to Kenpom.
Both times Dayton has lost this season, it hasn’t been pretty. For one, the Flyers got destroyed in the AdvoCare Invitational championship game by Xavier. The Musketeers blew them out of the water by a 29 point margin. Granted, Xavier is still undefeated and could even be a Final Four team this year, but losing by almost 30 points raises some eyebrows in terms of Dayton’s ability to compete with the best of the best.
The Flyers also dropped a home game to Chattanooga in which the Mocs were able to sneak away with a 61-59 victory. Dayton’s inability to make free throws (54%) gave Chattanooga the benefit of the doubt late in the game, and the Flyers walked away scratching their heads. They’ll certainly wish that they could get that one back.
Despite some really good wins in the non-conference slate of its schedule, Dayton lost two very tough games: one that it should’ve won and one that it shouldn’t have lost so badly in. All things considered, the Flyers did grab some really solid wins before conference play and will be a dangerous team come spring time. Don’t sleep on Dayton who will settle for nothing less than an Atlantic 10 title this March.