Tag Archives: Rhode Island Rams

2017 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region Notebook

Good fortune finds that the region that I happened to be covering turned out to be the only part of the bracket I predicted 100% correctly after the Round of 64.  No real surprises, as the top seeds took care of things in a business like fashion; and the only higher seeds to advance – #9 Michigan State and #11 Rhode Island – were anticipated.  The Round of 32 presents some intriguing match-ups as the first weekend of the Big Dance commences.

Close but no Cigar

I mentioned in my tournament preview on Thursday that the Midwest felt like a bracket that would not have much in the way of double-digit upsets.  The teams I felt were most likely, if any, to pull off upsets were Vermont and Nevada.  I make the mistake every year of picking a few too many of the 11-13 seeds to advance out of the Round of 64.  In customary fashion, both of these schools played very well, and hung tough for the majority of their respective games, but in the end Purdue and Iowa State were able to outlast the upstarts.  No surprise that Monte Morris led the way for the Cyclones, and B1G player of the year Caleb Swanigan did the most damage for the Boilermakers.  This sets up a 4/5 tilt between two schools recently plagued by early tournament failures, and something’s gotta give.

Wolverines continue their tear; have a shot at Revenge

The #4 seed Michigan Wolverines kept on rolling, outlasting Oklahoma State 92-91 in one of the more entertaining opening round games.  Senior Derrick Walton Jr. led the way with 26 points and 11 assists, setting up a Sunday afternoon showdown with Louisville.  The Cardinals once again got off to a shaky start, allowing themselves to fall into a 10-2 hole, before taking the lead permanently with just under seven minutes left in the first half.  The Cards got surprisingly strong contributions from big men Mangok Mathiang and Ray Spalding in order to outlast Jacksonville State.  Michigan has an opportunity to grab a little revenge, as John Beilien’s Wolverines fell in the 2013 National Championship game to Rick Pitino’s Cardinals.

Ram Tough

Dan Hurley’s Rhode Island team handily dispatched #6 Creighton, lining up one of the match-ups I was most looking forward to in this tournament, a date with the #3 seed Oregon Ducks.  All five starters scored in double figures, led by freshman Jeff Dowtin, who along with E.C. Matthews, went 10-10 from the free throw line.  The Rams will need every bit of toughness they have in them, as Oregon handled their business the way the tops seeds should, running up 55 points in the first half, and cruising to victory.  When Dana Altman’s team exerts all of their talent, the Ducks are elite.  This will be a fun game on Sunday.

This is Sparta!

The 2016-17 instillation of the Michigan State Spartans isn’t the typical powerhouse that Tom usually has at his disposal.  Coach Izzo knows how to pull the right strings at the right times, and now is presented with a golden opportunity to knock out top-seeded Kansas.  The Spartans thumped the Miami Hurricanes, and now await the Jayhawks, who, as expected, destroyed UC Davis to move into the Round of 32.  What was expected was the performance of Michigan State’s powerful freshman Miles Bridges and Nick Ward.  The keys on Sunday will be how Izzo’s club deals with the Kansas backcourt, particularly Frank Mason III, and whether the Jayhawks have enough support for senior Landen Lucas on the interior, in order to keep him on the floor.  I like Bill Self’s team to get through, but it may be a battle of attrition.

The Midwest Region is set up to have an outstanding Sweet 16.  Purdue or Iowa State will grab the first slot as that game caps off the action on Saturday night; then everyone else will fill in the gaps on Sunday.  Here’s hoping I can keep one clean region, and have each of my picks roll through, including #11 seed Rhode Island, there to upset the apple cart, and close out the opening weekend of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

E-mail Damon at  or follow him on Twitter @DamoKnowsSports.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

NCAA Tournament: Midwest Region Preview

At first blush, the Midwest Region seems to be destined to have the top seeds represented in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8; but questions abound for Kansas, Louisville, and Oregon as the opening rounds approach.  Although most of the double-digit seeds in this region don’t appear to pose a serious threat, there’s at least one that may knock heads with the big boys.

Jayhawks are going to Kansas City, Kansas City here they come!

There’s no reason to suspect that the Kansas Jayhawks shouldn’t find their way to KC, but will they be able to go any further?  Bill Self’s team had another incredible season, scattering four losses throughout the year, including bookends in the season opener, and to close the season in the Big 12 semifinals.   Despite their immensely talented backcourt led by Frank Mason III, Devonte Graham, and Josh Jackson, the Jayhawks frontcourt is a bit thin.  Could a potential matchup with Michigan State and the Spartan’s tough frontcourt combo of Miles Bridges and Nick Ward be too much for Landen Lucas to handle on his own?  This is the time of year that Tom Izzo starts working his magic, but if he can’t, top seeded Kansas should be bound for Kansas City, and a shot to advance out of the Midwest Regional Final.

Cardinals need more Dr. Jekyll, less Mr. Hyde

Louisville may be the one of deepest and most talented teams in the Midwest region, and perhaps the country.  However, the biggest issue this team has shown has been its wild personality swings.  Particularly glaring during late season losses to Wake Forest and Duke, the Cards have displayed a propensity to squander big leads.  UofL can dominate the vast majority of a game, only to completely go away from everything that is working.  Those lapses are what terrify and infuriate the Louisville fan base.  What is most shocking is that this tendency manifested early in the season during Louisville’s first loss of the year to Baylor.  The Cardinals let a 22 point lead slip before falling to the Bears in the Bahamas.  That may just be the identity of this year’s version of the Louisville Cardinals.  I suspect that Rick Pitino will tighten up the rotation, which should provide more cohesiveness; and Donovan “Spida” Mitchell is the type of player that can carry a team into early April.  If the Cards are Dr. Jekyll, they could win it all; if they’re Mr. Hyde, it could be a very early exit.

Rough Rhode ahead for the Ducks

Oregon has spent the entire 2016-17 season among the nation’s elite teams, and still has a loaded roster, and excellent coach in Dana Altman to lead them deep into this tournament.  Much will depend on the way the Ducks respond to the loss of versatile 6-10 senior Chris Boucher.  While Boucher was important, this team goes as junior Dillon Brooks goes.  However, the injury essentially cost Oregon a seed line, which is ridiculous since seeding should be based on a team’s body of work.  Will the Duck’s be ultra-motivated by the injury and a little bit of a slight by the committee, or will these late season factors lead to a bit of a malaise?  I’m leaning toward the latter.  Assuming Oregon survives the Round of 64 against Iona, the Ducks may be in for a rude awakening in the Round of 32 against Rhode Island.

Rams are a dark horse?

Don’t sleep on Rhode Island.  As mentioned above, URI could be a serious stumbling block for Oregon should they run into each other in the Round of 32.  The Rams were sitting squarely on the bubble, and then ripped off eight wins in a row, and took the Atlantic 10 Tournament title to ensure a spot in the field.  Dan Hurley’s squad has solid inside-outside balance with E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin; and has shown a ton of grit down the stretch.  In a region that appears to be set up for the chalk to advance, Rhode Island is poised to make a run.  Certainly the opener against the Creighton Blue Jays will be no cakewalk, but if the Rams escape, there’s no reason that Hurley’s club can’t bounce the 3 seed Oregon, and find themselves in the Sweet 16.

Perfect storm for the Cyclones

Over the last few seasons, Iowa State has been a huge disappointment (I know they’ve killed my bracket), but the path the Cyclones face may be tailor-made to make amends.   I loved the Steve Prohm hire when Fred Hoiberg bolted for the NBA; and although it took some time to come together, ISU has the pieces in place to do some damage this year.  A rare senior-laden team in college basketball, the Cyclones are in great hands, particularly with Naz Long and Monte Morris.  After several bitter tournament showings, look for Iowa State to get past #4 seed Purdue, to set up another Big 12 showdown with rival Kansas in the Sweet 16.

North Carolina Central and UC Davis will square off on Wednesday for the right to be the first roadblock for the Jayhawks on their way to a cozy spot in Kansas City.  There should be a lot of answers about the Midwest Region when the Round of 32 wraps up on Friday evening, but don’t be surprised if there are even more questions.

E-mail Damon at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @DamoKnowsSports.

Photo via Flickr/Brett Hurd

Ohio Bobcats will help Kansas Start Another Losing Streak

The Kansas Jayhawks won a game!  Never mind the fact that they needed to bring in the Rhode Island Rams, who compete in the FCS and have won just once each of the last two seasons.  They actually won a game, ending what was the longest active losing streak in the FBS at 15.

Is Charlie Weis still the coach out there in Kansas?  No?  Ahh well, it was fun while it lasted.  Fun, that is, for those of us who weren’t subjected to watching his garbage teams get smacked around the field.  Weis always looked so confused.  Apparently, he was just ahead of the curve.

Need a laugh?  Check out the modest gathering of Jayhawk fans that “rushed” the field to celebrate their team’s first win in over a year.

Please, pardon the shoddy video quality and listen to what the public address announcer says as the initial ankle-wrapping wave of fans comes leaking out onto the field.

This is quite the contradictory choice of celebration for a basketball school that clearly does not support court storming.

It is a problem.  It should be curtailed, if not eliminated altogether.  Still, I find the hypocrisy interesting.

This week, one of my adopted schools will help KU start another losing streak.  The Ohio Bobcats come to Lawrence, Kansas to force-feed the Jayhawks a sour dose of #MACtion.

After twice having the time of my life in Athens, Ohio (#11Fest, #13Fest), Theee Ohio University will always have a special place in my heart.

So yeah, this one’s personal.  I won’t just be pulling for Kansas to lose, as usual.  I’ll also be cheering on my Bobcats.

As the public address announcer so professionally said without laughing in that video, “This is a new era in Kansas football, an era in which you should expect to win.”

Seriously, is this what they’re preaching out there in Lawrence nowadays?  Who got to decide this?  I would love to have been at that meeting.

“Alright guys, we all know the team won’t be any good this year.  What are we going to do to drum up some excitement?”

“Oh, oh, I know.  Let’s tell everyone this is a new era for the program.  Maybe that’ll distract the fans.  Maybe they’ll think we’re all of a sudden better than we’ve been and not yet as good as we can be.”

“That’s perfect!  Nobody ever actually watches the games.  They’ll never realize we’re still losing games same as ever.”

A few words of advice for those who consider themselves a part of this “new era in Kansas football”:

Don’t get it twisted.  This isn’t 2007.  You’re still Kansas.  Expecting victories from your football team does nothing but set you up for disappointment.

E-mail Mitch at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @GreatGatzke

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

KU Football: “Beaty”ful Expectations

While the eyes of the world are on Rio and the Olympics, my attention is focused on all the fall camp news in the world of college football and in particular, in Lawrence, Kansas. Coming off one of the worst seasons in recent memory, KU looks to turn around a program desperate for anything positive.

What are the expectations of a team that has not won a game in a season and a half? Considering how awful the Jayhawks have been in recent years, our answer to that question is important. KU football fans are used to having little to no expectations and this season looks to be another difficult one. However, as with any worthwhile endeavor, small and realistic goals are key on the road to college football relevancy. Here are a few expectations I have for the 2016 Jayhawks, which I believe can continue to lay the foundation for a rebound season.

Expectation #1: Beat Rhode Island

To teams firmly entrenched in the Top 25, this goal may be a joke, but for a young and struggling program, getting that first win is a must. Stumbling out of the gate is something KU does routinely and last year’s loss to South Dakota State set the tone for the rest of the year. Not only did the Jayhawks lose to a FCS team (at home), they wasted a 31-7 comeback. Quarterback Montell Cozart fumbled the snap and the Jackrabbits recovered, denying the Jayhawks of a potential game-tying field goal.

In just over two weeks, KU has an opportunity to redeem itself from last season and gift David Beaty his first win as a college head coach. Similar to KU, Rhode Island has struggled in recent years and has only won a game the past two seasons. A great way for KU to build some momentum and confidence is to take care of business against Rhode Island.

Expectation #2: Stay competitive

There is no way to sugar coat a 0-12 season and I am not going to try. An analysis of last year’s schedule reveals that the Jayhawks could have won at least three games last season. KU lost to South Dakota State, Texas Tech and TCU by less than 10 points. In the game against Texas, the Jayhawks were trailing by 10 at the half but gave up 35 points in the second half.

Realistically, KU has a chance to finish the season with at least four wins in 2016. The road schedule will be difficult but if the Jayhawks can start the year with a win against Rhode Island and sneak a few other wins, KU just might surprise the experts this season.

Expectation #3: Improvements in Offense and Defense

How much improvement can we expect from the offense and defense in 2016? When you rank toward the bottom in pretty much every category on offense and defense, the only direction to go is up. Kansas had one of the worst defenses in college football last year and the offense was not much better, either. KU ranked almost dead last in the categories of total defense, rushing defense and passing yards allowed. There is some hope that the defense can turn it around. In the spring game, the defense won game with four interceptions. Of course, that may be more of an indictment on the offense, but any improvement on defense is welcome. Needless to say if KU can tighten up the defense, that would go a long way in helping the Jayhawks stay competitive.

Last season, David Beaty was more hands-off with the offense than he would have liked and the stats showed it. KU’s offense ranked 114th in total offense and only scored 22 touchdowns. With offensive coordinator Rob Likens calling the plays, KU only averaged four yards per play as well. Now that head coach David Beaty is calling the plays, I expect KU to improve more on offense than on defense.

2016 should be a season of improvement for the Jayhawks, albeit small improvement and I think that is the key. Fans don’t expect the Jayhawks to contend anytime soon, and for good reason. Truth is KU will remain toward the bottom of the standings but with six wins getting a team bowl eligible, the Jayhawks do have a something significant to strive for. I will withhold my predictions for the season for a few more weeks, but I think KU can surprise some people this season. Who knows, maybe 2016 will be the year KU makes meaningful progress and I’m sure the fans would have no problem with that.

Photo Credit: David Reber (Creative Commons)

From Bad to Worse: Time to Panic Yet?

Everything I wrote about before…. throw it out the window. Our beloved Flyers are lost and nowhere to be found. Saturday afternoon’s loss to a depleted Rhode Island team is very bad, folks. Very bad indeed.  Dayton struggled, mostly on offense, from the tip off to the very last whistle. They could not get a basket to save their lives. It seemed like everything bounced off the rim for the Flyers, and everything went in for the Rams.

Rhode Island did shoot very well from three, where the Flyers have struggled to defend all season.  Rhody must have made it the plan to try and exploit that, and they most certainly did, hitting 52% from behind the arc. Not good enough for an Archie Miller-coached team. That seemed to be a main contributor to this disappointing loss, but there’s plenty others you could look at as well.

My last column talked about three important keys that would determine a win against URI. Those were points in the paint, rebounding, and energy.  The Flyers got into the paint, but could not execute putting the ball in the hoop, so there’s one flaw (not to mention that Big Steve was in foul trouble for the entire game, so his size was of no use). They edged Rhode Island in the boards by only one rebound (not good enough), but the one defining factor that was absent was their lack of energy.

Not even bringing Kendall Pollard back could get this team fired up. From my television screen, UD Arena was as loud and boisterous as ever, and the team just didn’t look ready. They looked tired, lost, scared.  This doesn’t look good people. Archie Miller tried everything he could in his bag of miracles to get the team going, including a late run at the end of the game to get within seven, but the Flyers ran out of time. Rhode Island got a positive out of a letdown season, leaving Dayton with questions and uncertainty of itself.

It was Herb Brooks that said, “The Soviets win because they take that talent and use it inside a system that’s designed for the betterment of the team. My goal is to beat ’em at their own game.” That’s what Rhode Island did to Dayton on Saturday, beat it at its own game. Irony is fun.

Is it time to panic?

Well, not yet. Here’s why:

Dayton is still making the NCAA tournament no matter what. That’s the goal every year, right? This is only Dayton’s second bad loss this year, next to La Salle. That’s pretty good 28 games in. They have good wins over Iowa and Monmouth on neutral floors, over Alabama and George Washington at home, and at St. Bonaventure. No one is looking at the Chattanooga loss as bad, since the Mocs are really good this year and are probably going to win their league and make it to the tourney (do I sense a Cinderella brewing in Tennessee?). As long as Dayton doesn’t fold up and lose all its remaining games, they should be in good shape. Even if they do, we wouldn’t mind playing in the First Four again, right?

The team is still not complete. Kendall Pollard was back on Saturday, but Darrell Davis was not suited up because of a death in the family. Maybe not a huge loss for this game, but Baby D did hit the game-winner against Rhody last time out. In fact, in all of Dayton’s losses this year, the Flyers did not have all of their players in the game. Dyshawn Pierre missed the Xavier and Chattanooga games, obviously. Kendall Pollard missed the La Salle loss (honestly, no excuse, but still). Pollard also missed St. Joseph and St. Bonaventure. And Saturday, Darrell Davis was out against Rhode Island. I’m not saying that those are excuses for losses, but they could be a contribution. Archie Miller looks lost trying to find the right five to be on the floor when Dayton is missing a guy. Dayton has won games missing guys as well, which is what you want good teams to do. My point is that when this team has everyone playing, they’ve never lost.  That’s something to think about, especially how bad they’ve beaten some teams when everyone plays.

Conference tourney is the time to get hot. Even if Dayton doesn’t win out the regular season and loses out on winning the regular season title, it could still run the table in the conference tournament in Brooklyn. In fact, Dayton, along with St. Bona, VCU, and St. Joe’s, have locked up the top 4 seeds in the A-10 tournament, which guarantees them a double bye. That pretty much steers them away from any other bad losses, depending on who they play in their first game. If they get by that, then the next two games could possibly lead to more good wins, which looks good on a resume come Selection Sunday. If Dayton could win their three games in the conference tournament, that’s three wins in a row and momentum going into the NCAA tournament. Remember when UConn barely made the Big East tournament, won five conference tournament games in a row and rode that all the way to an NCAA championship? Good times.

Next game:  Tuesday at Richmond, 7:30 p.m. EST. It’s a tough matchup, but the Flyers have to get something going. A loss here, and we are in serious trouble.

Also, I want to give a shout out to my dad’s Pitt Panthers for their big win against Duke this weekend. You happy, Ron?

Image found at: creativecommons.org

Stats provided by ESPN.com

E-mail Chris at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @chrislvsketchup.

Dayton Survives Saint Louis, Looking Ahead to Rhode Island

THE-GAME-THAT-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED

Welp, that was ugly. Dayton sure did give us a scare on Tuesday night in Saint Louis.  That was easily one of the worst Flyer games and most disappointing almost-losses in recent memory.  It would have been a lot worse if they did lose.  Dayton shot terribly, did not bring any energy, and for most of the game the guys didn’t seem like they really wanted to be there, especially Scoochie. His stat line says 16 points and 7 boards, but the dude had no energy or flow for most of the game. It picked up at the end of regulation and overtime, but this team needs him to shine for all 40 minutes. Also, shout out to Bobby Wehrli for bringing fire and energy off the bench, dislocating a finger, and coming back in later to play some outstanding defense, especially at the end of the game defending that three attempt. The Wehrli-Bird was alive in Saint Louis.

Once again, Kendall Pollard was missed. I’m not sure what is up with that situation at the moment. Archie Miller keeps telling the media that it is still a bone bruise. Most take his word for it, but I’ve heard a few conspiracies from Flyer fans suggesting it may be a discipline issue.  Right now, it’s best not to speculate.  Archie has been honest about everything in the past, and I would believe his word until he says otherwise. He told the media that Cooke was not starting at George Mason because he violated a team rule. If Pollard did anything wrong, Archie would tell us. He is a pretty honest guy.

As for the game, we all witnessed its horror. Now let us never speak of it again. As far as you know, it never happened. 22-5.

Moving on….

Preview: Rhode Island

Next up on the schedule for the Flyers is Rhode Island. If you remember the last time these two met, Darrell “Baby” Davis stuck a dagger through the hearts of the Kingston faithful with a last three, leading the Flyers to a well-deserved win at Rhode Island (without Kendall Pollard, mind you). It gave Flyer fans a sense of hope that they could win without Pollard if need be. Oh how we were so very wrong.

The Rams come to UD Arena this Saturday for the second match-up this season. What’s different about this time around? Well, Rhody’s injury-filled season continues. Match-up nightmare Hassan Martin, the Rams go-to guy this season after E.C. Matthews’ season-ending injury, may now have his own season-ending injury after Tuesday’s game against Davidson. Not good for Rhode Island. He most likely won’t play Saturday, so who do the Rams have anymore? Jared Terrell and Jarvis Garrett are their most likely go-to guys now. Such a promising season all gone. Rhode Island will be putting it all out there on Saturday.

What we know about Rhody is that they play pretty decent defense, allowing 65.2 points per game (34th in the nation). Hassan Martin was their key defensive guy, but with him out, it will be very important for Dayton to take control of the game down low. The Rams on offense…not so good, averaging 69.8 points per game (259th in the nation). Martin being out can only mean that it might be worse now.  The Rams do not rebound much either, ranking 256th in rebounds per game.  The numbers don’t lie, but you never know about those teams that play with a lot of heart, which Rhode Island does.

How does Dayton avoid disaster (again)? Points in the paint, rebounding, and energy. With Martin out, Dyshawn Pierre needs to take over down low, and the guards need to drive in the lane, draw fouls, and convert shots in the paint. Steve McElvene needs to avoid foul trouble. He has had to sit the bench early with 2 fouls in the past few games. No one on Rhode Island can match up against Steve’s size, so this could potentially be one of his best games of the year. Pierre is a tough player down low for a 6’6″ guy, and with Pollard potentially being out again, he could have a 20+ point game. As for rebounding, Dayton is 70th in the country, but that average is a combination from games with and without Pollard.  The Flyers have been out-rebounded two of the last three games (they won the rebound battle 45-39 against SLU), which is uncharacteristic of an Archie Miller team. If Pollard is out again, Dayton needs to get tougher and be more active on the boards. This team thrives offensively and energy-wise on second chance points and getting out in transition. The rebound battle must be won. Being at home can help with energy. When the crowd is into it, so are the Flyers. Get LOWD.

Honestly, the Flyers should have won all of their conference games this year, “should have” being the key words there. The A-10 doesn’t work like that.  Dayton has been struggling lately, so this one will be tight somehow. Dayton was given a huge gut-check last game against Saint Louis, so expect the Rams to follow suit. It’s nice that Dayton will be at home for this one, though. If Pollard plays, no problems. If not, it’s possible this one could slip away, or the Flyers could surprise us and blow them out. We really don’t know. This team without Pollard is very inconsistent. Saturday’s game could serve as another get-back-on-track game. Let’s just get the W.

Some optimism for you:  Even though the past week and a half have been God-awful, Dayton could still end up back in the top 25 in the AP Poll with a win on Saturday. Archie loathes it, but good recruits don’t. Also, Dayton looks like a 4, 5, or 6 seed in most bracketology. Not bad.

E-mail Chris at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @chrislvsketchup.

All stats found on ESPN.com

Photo: Paul and Cathy/Flickr.

Dayton Basketball: Recap and Looking Ahead in the A-10

Let’s look back at this past week’s games for the Dayton Flyers:

Wednesday:  Saint Joseph’s 79, Dayton 70

We all knew this was going to be a tough game. It became even tougher when Archie Miller revealed that Kendall Pollard would be missing his second game in a row with a deep bruise in his knee.  Coach has said that Pollard can play, but it is not worth the risk of a bigger injury.  Coach Miller is absolutely right about this.  The bigger picture is the NCAA tournament.  Miller know’s that the Flyers have pretty much locked up a bid to the tournament at this point, so there is no need to risk Pollard’s injury to get worse.

The Flyers got by without him in Rhode Island, but not in this game. St. Joe’s took it to the Flyers for 40 minutes.  DeAndre Bembry looked scary good, tallying 16 points and adding 13 rebounds.  He really couldn’t be stopped.  I will say the Flyers did a great job on Joe’s leading scorer (no, it’s not Bembry) Isaiah Miles, who was not a huge factor.  The Hawks should be given a ton of credit.  Their defense was stout, and they got key baskets when they needed them.  It seemed that whenever the Flyers got within two possessions of tying or taking the lead late in the second half, they got clutch baskets to keep Dayton out of reach.

Although St. Joe’s deserves a lot of credit for the victory, many Flyer Faithful on the twittersphere questioned many of Archie Miller’s in game coaching strategies, mainly the lineups on the floor.  At one point, I noticed a lineup of Crosby, Miller, Mikesell, Pierre, and Darrell Davis.  Another time, I saw Bobby Wehrli playing center trying to defend on the low block. That did not look pretty, as it led to a St. Joe’s slam.  Dyshawn Pierre played all 40 minutes, Charles Cooke 35, and Scoochie Miller 34.  Williams did not even make an appearance (no one knows what that is about). That seems odd for a deep team missing one guy.  The coaching just did not seem there for a normally sound coach in Archie Miller. It seems to be a trend in these kinds of losses for Archie, but for all he’s done for this program the past 5 years, I think we can let this one slide.

The direct result from this game? Well, VCU won on Tuesday, and Dayton loses to Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday.  You know what that means….a three way tie for first.  This should be fun.

Saturday:  St. Bonaventure 79, Dayton 70

Yikes. The Flyers’ 20 game conference home win streak…gone. The Bonnies played really tough on Saturday, and Dayton jsut did not match it. Not only was the streak snapped, but the Flyers lost two games in a row for the first time all season.  Kendall Pollard was once again missed. The Flyers are not the same team without him, which starts to make Pollard the X-factor for Dayton.  When he and Dyshawn Pierre play, Dayton doesn’t lose (literally they are 11-0 when they play together).  Dayton needs him back badly.

With this loss, the “15th” ranked Flyers might drop out of the top 25 polls. That would not look good moving down 11+ spots. Archie Miller might actually love it, considering how much he hates being ranked (maybe this will keep him at Dayton and away from the big schools). Rankings are all just for fun, but it has been pretty nice to see our guys be this high.  It also probably drops them down in Joe Lunardi’s bracketology, whatever that’s worth. This might be a wake up call to the rest of the team. It will be interesting to see how the team responds after two disappointing performances.

The loss might have really hurt Dayton’s chances of being first in the A10, and they needed a prayer to get back up to the top. Well, boy did they get one when Davidson beat St. Joseph’s in the game right after. Didn’t expect that to happen. VCU did win on Friday night, which moves them back up to the top, and St. Joe’s and Dayton tied for second, and St. Bona in third. This is getting crazy folks. 4 games to go. Anything is possible.

This week in the A-10

Looking ahead, Dayton has Saint Louis on the road on Tuesday and then Rhode Island comes to the Arena on Saturday. I would make a prediction, but that seems moot at this point since I’ve been wrong in the last post. Dayton SHOULD win both games, but without Pollard, your guess is as good as mine.

VCU travels to George Mason on Wednesday and then they travel to Foggy Bottom on Saturday for a revenge game against George Washington.  Road games in the A10 are no guarantee (see VCU at UMass), so both games could be tough or a breeze for the Rams. We shall see.

St. Joseph’s travels to UMass on Wednesday, who we learned is tough at home. Then they have a home game against Saint Louis on Sunday, after they see how Dayton and VCU perform on Saturday. Poor Saint Louis having Dayton and St. Joe’s two games in a row.