Recon: Dayton Flyers, Round 2

Dayton tries to stay unbeaten at home. The Bonnies try for their biggest upset win of the season.

Dayton tries to stay unbeaten at home. The Bonnies try for their biggest upset win of the season.

The Opponent:  The 18-5, 8-3, tied for first place with four other teams- Dayton Flyers. After racing out to a 5-0 start in A10 play Dayton, like much of the league, has not been able to string together wins with any consistency. They’ve alternated wins and losses in their last six games, most recently downing SLU on the road. In the first meeting Dayton beat SBU 78-61 and nailed 14 three pointers. It was a blowout in the RC. Dayton has lost three of their last four road games but this game is obviously not on the road for Archie’s bench.

The Rundown on Dayton: Without a doubt one of the the best five teams in the league….I know we’re going out on a limb here, it’s a joke. Dayton is a fantastic team at home at UD Arena where they are a perfect 12-0. The place is sold out yet again and the Bonnies are going to be heading into a pit, and likely without their starting PG; this is the recipe for a disaster or an amazing win.Their four “guard” lineup gave SBU a ton of issues in the first meeting and the Bonnies were not able to exploit their size advantage inside. If this game were in the RC this weekend I’d say this would be a game SBU would have a solid chance to win. But, given that it’s on the road at UD Arena I’m thinking the Bonnies would be given something like 15%  chance of stealing a W. Still, this team always keeps you guessing so you’ve got to tune in.

Foes’ Starting Five:

Bigs: Dyshawn Pierre (12.6 points,7.5 rebounds), Kendall Pollard (12.0 points, 5.6 rebounds)

Quicks: Jordan Sibert (16.1 points, 78% FT, 33% 3PT), Kyle Davis (7.1 points, 48% FG), Schoochie Smith (8.5 points, 39% 3PT)

Their Strength: Since we’re getting into the second go-round with many of these teams these Recons are going to be shorter. We know what Dayton does well- they are tough to guard because of their quickness, they shoot it well enough from three and they employ a very, very good team defense that is 32nd nationally in points against per game. Dayton is athletic but their bench is as short as SBU’s. They are 2nd in scoring defense in league play, 1st in field goal percentage, 5th in field goal percentage defense and 2nd in three point percentage….yes, they have a lot going for them. For as much as people talk about their offense being so hard to deal with their team defense has been their real calling card. They’re just a good, solid, well coached team with great fans and an unreal home-court advantage. They are the envy of just about every mid-major program.

Their glaring weaknesses: Same as before: they aren’t big inside and they aren’t deep. Neither of these factors were an issue for UD the first time out and haven’t really been a factor for them all year. In fact, Dayton’s lack of size has helped them a lot more than its hurt them on both sides of the rock. If the Bonnies were a deep team who pressed and ran 12 guys out there I’d say there’s a chance they could expose UD’s lack of bench in the final four minutes but seeing that the Bonnies are even more thin it won’t be a factor. Maybe Schmidt has found a new way to get Dion and Youssou going inside vs. their bigs who fronted the hell out of them the first time out but I’m not holding my breath on that front.

Dayton Video Preview:

Their best player(s): This is a team with no clear best player in my mind which is a testament to their “True Team” season motto. Last time we met up however Jordan Sibert had his way inside and outside and scored 22 points on 9-16 shooting. He was 4-9 from three. He took our guards off the bounce and posted up our bigs all game. If that happens again SBU is major trouble. Sibert is a really good player on a good team. SBU will need to do a much better job on him than the first time out if they want to keep this thing close.

Reason to be Pessimistic:  Because no one seems to ever win at Dayton. Because we may be without our starting point guard. Because Dayton is just flat out a better team with better players on their home floor and they’re playing for a Tournament Bid. They know this would be a “bad loss” and they’ll be playing to avoid that blemish at all costs. Also, they’re playing for a continued share of first place…so they’ll be motivated.

Reason to be Optimistic: Because our team makes no sense. We win games we shouldn’t (Duquesne, Davidson, VCU) and lose one’s where we are favorites (La Salle and UMass). Shane said Monday we’d drop the UMass game and win vs. Dayton so here’s to him being right. I asked him if he wanted to change his mind after all the Swaggy J rumors started swirling and he said no…in fact he’s even more sure we’ll win with Adams out….This league has been NUTS all year long with teams losing games just as they get hot so maybe the trend will continue in Ohio this weekend. I certainly don’t like our chances but I do think this team plays better on the road/when they’re underdogs. This is that game.