Who Should Dayton Hope and Not Hope To Play in the NCAA Tournament?

The blueprint is out on how to beat Dayton.  Tough defense, rebounding, and good guard play have to all come together to beat the Flyers.  Two teams have put all three together to get the win, and that’s Kansas and Colorado.  The other tough games Dayton played against Saint Louis and Duquesne had at least two of those, but just weren’t able to pull off the upset.  Nonetheless, the plan has been found, and teams need to figure out how to execute.

Right now, Dayton is a projected 2 seed by Joe Lunardi and Bracket Matrix, which are both very legitimate sites for bracketology.  Dayton could be jumped by some of the other teams in power conferences down the stretch, which would drop the Flyers to most likely a 3 seed, maybe a 4 depending on how things go throughout the country.

For this article, I am looking at Dayton as a 2 or 3 seed and seeing which teams Dayton should hope and not hope to play because of that particular team’s style of play, plus their KenPom ratings in offensive and defensive efficiency, as well as offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.  We are also assuming Dayton wins their first round game against the 14 or 15 seeded team.  I looked at all the 6, 7, 10, and 11 seeds projected by Lunardi and Bracket Matrix.

First, here’s the chart comparing Dayton to the 4 teams that beat them or played them close:

Now lets look at the chart for who I believe Dayton should hope to play:

Next is the chart for the teams Dayton should hope to avoid in the second round:

These lists are not remotely close in length because Dayton is really good and they can really play with anyone in the country.  But there were a few teams that jumped off the page and can give them trouble.  Feel free to discuss with us on what you think as well.  I’m not going to go through every team as I have only seen a game or two of each of these teams, but I tend to think KenPom paints a pretty decent picture of how these teams play.

The teams that I really like as a match-up for Dayton are Wisconsin, Penn State, Marquette, Florida, and Stanford.  Wisconsin has already lost to Richmond, who the Flyers dominated in Richmond, which should give Dayton some confidence to play against.  Wisconsin, Penn State, Florida, and Stanford are all bad rebounding teams, some worse than Dayton.  Marquette in particular is not good defensively and is an average rebounding team, advantage Flyers.  Rutgers is an interesting team because they are decent on the glass and play hard defense; their main weakness is their offense, which might not be able to keep up with Dayton.  The one out of that group that is iffy for me is Virginia.  They are atrocious offensively, but can get it done on defense at an elite rate.  I like the Flyers in that one, but barely.  Also, Ohio State would be intriguing, but the Buckeyes have lost a key player on their team due to some health issues, and they have dropped significantly since the start of the year, so I like the Flyers barely against OSU as well.

The teams I get nervous about Dayton playing are Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, or playing Colorado again.  Illinois is one of the best rebounding teams in the country.  They can also score pretty efficiently and can get after it defensively.  They are bad at shooting the three, though, ranked 305 in the country.  Purdue has a stingy defense but can also put up points if you let them, just ask Iowa.  They are also elite on the offensive glass.  Colorado would be interesting as Dayton has played them already and only lost on a buzzer beater, but Colorado has the plan and guys to beat them again.  Finally, wouldn’t it be something if Dayton got matched up against Archie Miller and the Hoosiers?  Indiana is a great rebounding team and plays tough defense.  Sound familiar, Flyers fans?  Archie’s group does struggle at times on offense, but they are not that bad according to the metrics, despite what Archie’s twitter mentions look like.  As stated before, Rutgers and Virginia could be on this list as well.

These worries will go away if Dayton improves on the defensive glass and omits the laziness that we tend to see on defense.  The Flyers don’t have to be perfect, but the next month is the prime time to fine tune their weaknesses and gear up for a hopefully long March run.


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