Dayton vs. Wake Forest
Old Spice Classic
Spread: Dayton -6
Moneyline: Day -260, Wake +220
Tip off: 7 PM EST From Orlando, FLA
Betting Odds taken from Bookmaker
Last year Dayton finished with a 22-14 record (7-9 in A-10 play) and lost in the first round of the NIT to Charleston, 94-84. They lost their two most important players from last season, but newly eligible transfer Kevin Dillard could help. Dillard is probably actually an upgrade at point guard from the gradated Juwan Staten. He posted one of the best assists:turnover ratios in the country last season, and is doing the same this year with 6.3 assists per game and only 2.3 turnovers. He is leading the team in minutes at 28 per game, and if you throw out his 19 minute, 5 point game in the opener against Western Illinois, he is seeing 32.5 minutes a night and averaging 14.5 points per game. His performance against Western Illinois is excuseable, anyway, since the game was a complete blowout win.
Chris Johnson was effective last season for the Flyers. He rarely turned it over and made 38% from downtown (203 attempts), while also shooting 83% from the line. He’s a solid second fiddle, though because of the blowouts, he too isn’t seeing huge minutes. As the season wears on, expect the starters’ minutes to drastically increase, since Dayton won’t be blowing everyone out.
6’4 Senior guard Paul Williams is leading the way in scoring for the Flyers so far with 13.3 points per game. He only saw 22 minutes and didn’t play particularly well in a blowout win over UNC-Wilmington, but he had a very strong performance in the 5 point loss to Miami of Ohio, scoring his season high of 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting, including stroking 4 of 6 from deep. Last season, he shot a career high 41.8% from three, and he has increased his three point percentage every year so far (He shot only 26.3% from three as a freshman in 08-09).
Last season, Wake Forest struggled — to say the least. They finished with a dismal 8-24 record and won only 1 of their 16 conference games. They lost 81-67 to Boston College in the first round of the ACC tournament, though no one gave them much of a chance in that game, anyway. There really wasn’t anything they did well last season, and can only look forward to getting better. They finished last in ACC offense and defense and may have been the worst major conference team in the NCAA.
Still, C.J. Harris was one of the best at getting to the line and is off to a phenomenal start this season. He’s putting up the 2nd most points on the team at 20.7 per game, while shooting an absurd 64.5% from the floor and 70% from three. The 6’3″ senior guard is a good passer, but he does turn it over a good bit (3.2 TO/g last season). He’s good enough to be a solid second option, but that is all he has to be.
6’7″ sophomore Travis McKie is the key offensively and is the best player on the team. He’s putting up 22.3 points per game, and has only continued to get better each game. He scored 25 against North Carolina Central, while also grabbing 7 rebounds and only turning it over once. He has shot 50% or better from the floor in all three games, and has improved so much from last season, that it may be just an anomaly at this point. He shot 54% on twos last season and 73% on free throws, where he gets quite often. This season, he has already shot 22 free throws through 3 games.
Still, it is a bit early for the Deacons to get excited, even if they are 3-0. Sure, it is a huge improvement over last season at this point, but Dayton tonight will be their best opponent so far, and that isn’t saying much. They have a soft schedule through December, but will face Duke, FSU and UNC in January, which should be good for a series of blowouts against superior opponents. Nonetheless, if the Demon Deacons can at least beat some of the teams they have chances against, this year will be a marked improvement from last year’s disasterous campaign.
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