The debate continues every year. When the Dayton Flyers learn their possible opponents in the annual exempt tournament — be it the Maui Invitational, Charleston Classic, Battle 4 Atlantis, etc. — fans start comparing the quality of the field to past tournaments.
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The 2019 Maui Invitational has the potential to be one of the best Dayton has seen. The average Ken Pomeroy ranking of the teams in the tournament, not counting the Division II host Chaminade, was 59 last season. Three teams in the field ranked in the top 20: No. 3 Michigan State, No. 13 Virginia Tech and No. 17 Kansas.
Dayton’s first-round opponent, No. 132 Georgia, pulls down the ranking, but the Bulldogs have one of the nation’s top recruiting classes and should be improved in coach Tom Crean’s second season. The same could be said for the Dayton Flyers, who ranked 62nd last season.
The rankings will change in the 2019-20 season, of course, but if the average was 59 again, this would be the third-best exempt tournament to include Dayton. Here’s how those tournaments rank. This list includes all the events Dayton has played in since 2002 — when the Pomeroy rankings began — that feature three games at one site in an eight-team tournament. All rankings listed are from KenPom.com.
1. 2013 Maui Invitational
Average Pomeroy ranking: 38.
Highest-ranked team: No. 18 Syracuse.
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Dayton’s results: The No. 42 Flyers finished third. They beat No. 24 Gonzaga 84-79, lost 67-66 to No. 29 Baylor and beat No. 60 California 82-64.
2. 2015 Advocare Invitational
Average Pomeroy ranking: 48.
Highest-ranked team: No. 13 Wichita State.
Champion: No. 14 Xavier.
Dayton’s results: The No. 59 Flyers finished second in Orlando, Fla. It beat No. 23 Iowa 82-77 and No. 95 Monmouth 73-70 and lost 90-61 to Xavier.
3. 2018 Battle 4 Atlantis
Average Pomeroy ranking: 71.
Highest-ranked team: No. 1 Virginia.
Dayton’s results: The No. 62 Flyers finished fourth in the Bahamas. They beat No. 72 Butler 69-64, lost 66-59 to Virginia and lost 65-54 to No. 32 Oklahoma.
4. 2009 Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Average Pomeroy ranking: 77.
Highest-ranked team: No. 6 Kansas State.
Champion: No. 17 Villanova.
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Dayton’s results: The No. 26 Flyers finished fourth in San Juan. They beat No. 31 Georgia Tech 63-59 and lost 71-65 to Villanova and 83-75 to Kansas State.
5. 2003 Maui Invitational
Average Pomeroy ranking: 103.
Highest-ranked team: No. 53 Villanova.
Champion: No. 74 Dayton.
Dayton’s results: The Flyers won the championship, beating No. 273 Central Michigan 82-63, No. 111 San Diego State 76-71 and No. 78 Hawaii 82-72.
6. 2012 Charleston Classic
Average Pomeroy ranking: 104.
Highest-ranked team: No. 28 Baylor.
Champion: No. 45 Colorado.
Dayton’s results: The No. 67 Flyers finished fifth in South Carolina. They lost 67-57 to Colorado and then beat No. 107 Boston College 87-71 and No. 197 Auburn 73-63.
7. 2017 Charleston Classic
Average Pomeroy ranking: 106.
Highest-ranked team: No. 14 Clemson.
Champion: No. 86 Temple.
Dayton’s results: The No. 172 Flyers finished sixth. They lost 72-69 to No. 157 Hofstra, beat No. 193 Ohio 79-65 and lost 75-67 to No. 64 Old Dominion.
8. 2014 Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Average Pomeroy ranking: 116.
Highest-ranked team: No. 25 West Virginia.
Champion: West Virginia.
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Dayton’s results: The No. 42 Flyers finished third. They beat No. 54 Texas A&M 55-53, lost 75-64 to No. 73 Connecticut and beat No. 110 Boston College 65-53.
9. 2016 Wooden Legacy
Average Pomeroy ranking: 120.
Highest-ranked team: No. 16 UCLA.
Dayton’s results: The No. 39 Flyers finished fifth in Anaheim, Calif. They lost 80-78 to No. 107 Nebraska, beat No. 280 Portland 84-74 and beat No. 119 New Mexico 64-57.
10. 2011 Old Spice Classic
Average Pomeroy ranking: 131.
Highest-ranked team: No. 52 Minnesota.
Champion: No. 69 Dayton.
Dayton’s results: The Flyers beat No. 211 Wake Forest 80-76, No. 113 Fairfield 56-59 and Minnesota 86-70 to win the championship in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
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