Dayton freshman forward Ryan Mikesell has class at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays. He won’t need a note from coach Archie Miller to miss it this Tuesday. His professor only has to turn on ESPN to see Mikesell has another responsibility to attend to.
The Flyers (1-0) play Alabama (1-0) at 1 p.m. Tuesday. It’s the 11th of 16 games in ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon.
The event started at 5:30 p.m. Monday with a women’s game between Connecticut and Ohio State and ends at 10 p.m. Tuesday with the Kansas men playing Michigan State.
“Our guys won’t be in class,” Miller said. “They’re not going to be down about that. Hopefully, the whole university doesn’t go to school on Tuesday, and they all can come over here and we can put as many people in the seats as we can. We need a great crowd.
“Our students were fantastic again (Friday). I think Tuesday should be a very unique day for us. It’s the marathon. Everybody in the country is playing at some time during the day. To be at home at 1 o’clock against Alabama, that’s a great environment to be in. I think it’ll be one of the better crowds we’ll have.”
Alabama beat Kennesaw State 77-64 on Friday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Crimson Tide ranked 85th in the RPI last season, finishing 19-15.
Alabama fired former Dayton Flyer Anthony Grant after the season and hired Avery Johnson, a former point guard who won an NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999 and coached the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA Finals in 2006, when he was named NBA Coach of the Year.
Johnson has energized Alabama’s program, but it’s a team that lost its top three scorers — and its only double-digit scorers — after last season. Levi Randolph, Ricky Tarrant and Rodney Cooper averaged 39.6 points between them. KenPom.com, which provides advanced statistical analysis of college basketball, gives Dayton a 72 percent chance of beating Alabama.
This matchup represents a big jump in competition for the Flyers from their first game. They routed Southeast Missouri State 84-53 on Friday. Mikesell led the team with 21 points. Sophomore guard Darrell Davis added 15. Dayton’s bench scored 49 points.
Miller would like to see his team turn the ball over less and commit fewer fouls in the second game. The Flyers had 17 turnovers and 26 fouls in the opener. They averaged 13.6 turnovers and 15.9 fouls per game last season.
“The sloppiness with the basketball, the unsureness with the basketball has to get cleaned up,” Miller said. “Part of that is chemistry and being able to play together, and the second thing is the fouling. We have to find ways to be better in that area. If you foul and you put teams on the line, and your best players are playing, it’s going to hurt you.”
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