East Region Third Round: #11 Dayton Flyers vs #3 Oklahoma Sooners

2015 NCAA Tournament
East Region Third Round
#11 Dayton Flyers vs #3 Oklahoma Sooners
Nationwide Arena – Columbus, Ohio
Sunday, March 22, 2015, 6:10 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Oklahoma -5
Current Line: Oklahoma -4
Opening Total: 128 1/2
Current Total: 129 1/2
Opening Money Line: Oklahoma -175 / Dayton +150
Current Money Line: Oklahoma -190 / Dayton +160

Oklahoma is a 4 point favorite against Dayton Sunday.
Oklahoma is a 4 point favorite against Dayton Sunday.

Last season, the Dayton Flyers were a #11 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and the Flyers advanced all the way to the Elite 8 before losing to #1 overall seed Florida. This season the Flyers were again seeded #11 and look to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. It won’t be easy as they face the #3 seed Oklahoma Sooners in the East Region Third Round Sunday in Columbus. The winner of Dayton and Oklahoma will face either #7 Michigan State or #2 Virginia in the regional semifinals next week in Syracuse.

Oklahoma leads the series 2-1 against Dayton, but they haven’t played since 1988. The Flyers beat the Sooners in the 1985 round of 32.

Dayton is 27-8 overall and finished tied for second in the Atlantic 10 with Rhode Island at 13-5 a game behind Davidson. The Flyers advanced to the A-10 Championship game but lost to VCU 71-65. Despite an RPI of 32 Dayton was seeded #11 and matched against Boise State in the first round Wednesday. The Flyers won 56-55 on their own home court. Dayton then beat #6 seed Providence 66-53 in the second round Friday. The #11 seed Flyers (who barely made the tournament) will play their third NCAA Tournament game this week and never have to travel more than 71 miles to play those games or leave their home state. You just wonder why the committee didn’t put the Flyers in the Midwest region so they could potentially play next week in Cleveland too. Dayton is making their 16th trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Flyers were the national runner-up in 1967. Dayton went 2-3 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

Oklahoma is 23-10 overall and finished tied for second in the Big 12 at 12-6 with Iowa State behind 13-5 Kansas. Oklahoma lost to Iowa State in the Big 12 semifinals. Oklahoma held off an upset bid from plucky #14 seed Albany in the second round with a 69-60 win Friday. The Sooners are making their 29th tournament appearance and were the national runner-ups in 1988. Oklahoma went 11-5 against Tournament teams this season.

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Dayton is coached by Archie Miller. The Flyers have neutral site losses to Connecticut in Puerto Rico and VCU in the A-10 Tournament, and road losses to Arkansas, Davidson, Massachusetts, George Washington, Duquesne, and LaSalle. The Flyers are playing their 6th game in 9 days. Dayton has home wins over Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Bradley, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Duquesne, LaSalle, Saint Louis, Richmond, Fordham, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s, George Mason, and Rhode Island, neutral site wins over Texas A&M and Boston College in Puerto Rico, and St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, plus road wins over Miami-(OH), St. Bonaventure, Fordham, Saint Louis, Duquesne, and VCU. The Flyers are 17-16 ATS and the total is 16-13 this season. Dayton was a 2.5 point underdog against Providence and the total was 130.5.

Oklahoma is coached by Lon Kruger. The Sooners have road losses at Creighton, West Virginia, Kansas, Baylor, Kansas State and Iowa State. Oklahoma has neutral site losses to Wisconsin in the Bahamas, Washington in Las Vegas, and Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament, along with a home loss to Kansas State. Oklahoma has neutral site wins over UCLA and Butler in the Bahamas and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament, home wins over Missouri, Oral Roberts, Weber State, George Mason, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, TCU and Kansas, plus road wins over Tulsa, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech and Texas. The Sooners are 15-16 ATS and the total is 11-19 this season. Oklahoma was a 13 point favorite against Albany and the total was 130.

Dayton is outscoring teams 68-61 this season. The Flyers are #40 nationally in points allowed. Dayton is shooting 46.2% from the field and 35.1% from 3 point range. The Flyers make 68.4% of their free throws. Dayton opponents are shooting 41.8% from the field and 32% from 3 point range. The Flyers average 31.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.9 per game. Dayton is #307 out of 353 teams in rebounding. The Flyers average 13.7 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 2.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 12 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 5.2 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.

Jordan Sibert averages 16.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Dyshawn Pierre averages 12.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Kendall Pollard averages 12.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Scoochie Smith averages 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Kyle Davis averages 7.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. Five Dayton players are out for the season either due to injuries or suspensions.

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Oklahoma is outscoring teams 72-63 this season. The Sooners are shooting 44% from the field and 34.6% from 3 point range. Oklahoma makes 72.7% of their free throws. The Sooners are #50 nationally in free throw shooting. Opponents are shooting 38.4% from the field and 31.4% from 3 point range. Oklahoma is #14 in field goal defense and #46 in three point defense nationally. The Sooners average 38.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.9 per game. Oklahoma is #26 in rebounding but #328 in rebounds allowed out of 353 teams. The Sooners average 12.7 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 7.1 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.2 assists, 14.1 turnovers, 6.4 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.

Guard Buddy Hield averages 17 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Isaiah Cousins averages 12 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. TaShawn Thomas averages 11.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Ryan Spangler averages 10.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. Jordan Woodard averages 9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Dinjiyl Walker, Frank Booker and Khadeem Lattin also get minutes in the rotation. Forward Dante Buford is out for the season because of academics.

Dayton is 5-1 ATS in NCAA tournament games, 5-2 in Sunday games, 17-7 in neutral site games, and 2-6 in non-conference games.

Oklahoma is 1-4 ATS in neutral site games, 1-5 after a straight up win, 1-6 after failing to cover, and against teams with winning records, 1-8 overall, and 0-4 in NCAA Tournament games.

Regardless of whether it is fair that an 11seed gets to play what is basically a home game against higher seeded teams Providence and Oklahoma, the Flyers probably shouldn’t have been seeded that low any way. The Sooners have been inconsistent this season and I think Dayton has the skills to pull off the upset and advance to the sweet 16 for the second straight year.

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