With the Atlantic 10 Conference announcing that the men’s and women’s tournaments would swap dates, this is officially the final week of regular-season play. This weekend’s games mark the final chance for teams to improve their seeding ahead of the A10 Tournament. One school that will garner plenty of attention in Richmond next week is Dayton basketball. After widely considered to be a national championship contender prior to last season, the Flyers have fairly long odds to win the A10 Tournament at +1400.
Dayton Basketball Season Recap
College basketball teams all across the country struggled to put together a lengthy nonconference slate of games this season. Dayton basketball was no exception. The Flyers did, however, make the most of the five non-league games that they were able to get in. Dayton won four of the five contests, with Power 5 wins over SEC competition in Ole Miss and Mississippi State easily being the highlights. The Flyers also knocked off one of the better teams in Horizon League basketball in Northern Kentucky. The lone nonconference loss came by just two points to SMU.
A10 Conference Play
Dayton basketball got off to a strong start to Atlantic 10 Conference play. The Flyers rattled off wins in four of their first six games before even encountering a postponement. Triumphs over Davidson and George Mason would have to be considered the most impressive of that bunch while losing to Fordham by a point is one heck of an ugly loss. After getting blown out by VCU following the postponement, Dayton earned wins in three of their next four games, including a road upset of 22nd-ranked Saint Louis.
Unfortunately, outside of earning a season sweep of those same Billikens with a rout in the rematch, Dayton has come up short in three of their four most recent contests. A loss to St. Joseph’s in their most recent game means the Flyers have been beaten by the two worst teams in Atlantic 10 basketball this season.
Dayton Basketball A10 Tournament Outlook
Despite their inconsistent play over the course of the Atlantic 10 regular season, Dayton basketball cannot be counted out when it comes to the A10 Tournament. Guard play has proven itself to be vital to postseason success over the years. Arguably no Atlantic 10 Conference team has a better backcourt tandem than the Flyers.
Seniors Jalen Crutcher and Ibi Watson are the focal points of this year’s Dayton basketball team. Both players not only lead the Flyers when it comes to scoring but regularly contribute in other statistical areas as well. Dayton’s A10 Tournament chances will likely boil down to just how far the two veteran guards can take them. It remains unclear as to who exactly will reliably step up behind them. Freshman guard R.J. Blakney was terrific in the Flyers’ most recent outing with 15 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench. Whether or not he can continue that going forward is another story.
Dayton Basketball is an A10 Tournament Longshot
Dayton basketball is one of just six teams with odds shorter than 30-1 to win the A10 Tournament. With that said, the Flyers’ 14-1 odds are the longest of that group. They are well off the pace of conference favorites St. Bonaventure, VCU, Saint Louis and Richmond. Given the roster turnover that took place, it’s not surprising that expectations for Dayton in March aren’t as high as last season. Losing a player like NBA lottery pick Obi Toppin cannot be understated. Nonetheless, Crutcher and Watson are fully capable of taking over any game. Dayton has a shot, albeit a long one.