Bracketologist Jerry Palm, of CBSSports.com, watched from courtside as Dayton beat Richmond 63-60 Saturday at UD Arena.
Two or three times a week, he shuffles teams in his NCAA tournament prediction. In his latest bracket Friday, he tabbed the Flyers as a No. 11 seed playing No. 6 seed Texas in the first round. Last Monday, he predicted the Flyers would play Xavier in the First Four in Dayton.
Predicting these matchups months ahead of Selection Sunday is fun and fans eat it up, but a blindfolded kid playing pin the tail on the donkey is just as accurate. Too much can happen between now and March 15. Fans should take the forecasts for what they’re worth. They’re educated guesses.
Palm, of course, does know basketball, or he wouldn’t have his position. Here’s his assessment of No. 22 Dayton (16-3, 6-1 A-10): “Small, fast, feisty, more physical than you’d guess,” he wrote on Twitter.
That’s a fair description of a team that has won nine of its last 10 games with no one taller than 6-foot-6. The Flyers rank 27th in the RPI after their latest victory.
They might fall out of the top 25 today because of their 77-60 loss to Davidson. However, they do remain in good position for an NCAA tournament bid with 11 regular-season games remaining.
The road ahead, though, is a tough one. Dayton played seven of its last 10 games at home and won them all. It plays three of its next four on the road, starting with a 7 p.m. game Thursday at Massachusetts (10-9, 3-3).
“I didn’t even know we have three of the next four on the road,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “We’re just so focused on the day we’re in.”
Dayton started 2-5 in the A-10 last season and then hit its stride in February, winning six in a row to start the month and nine of its last 10 regular-season games. The Flyers also started 2-5 in Miller’s second season, and they were 4-3 in his first season in 2011-12.
Dayton’s latest victory had a lot to do with the job Dayton guard Kyle Davis did defending in Richmond’s leading scorer, Kendall Anthony.
Anthony scored 18 and 20 points against Dayton last season. He had nine Saturday and scored four in the last 30 seconds. Anthony made 7 of 11 3-pointers in Richmond’s previous game and shot 0 of 2 against Dayton. Davis played a career-high 39 minutes and gets most of the credit for Anthony’s performance.
“When he’s on the floor and engaged, he’s a difference maker for us on the floor,” Miller said. “He’s always getting the other team’s best guy. Kyle has picked up a couple of lackadaisical second fouls in the first half in the last two or three games. It’s really hurt us in terms of him having to sit for eight to 10 minutes. He was ready to go tonight. He made everything hard on a really good player. That’s what we ask him to today game in and game out.”
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