The Dayton-Virginia Commonwealth rivalry has turned into one of the Atlantic 10 Conference’s best in the last four seasons. Dayton coach Anthony Grant’s connection to both schools — his first head coaching job was at VCU — adds another layer to the series, which featured three memorable games last season.
The A-10 announced the schedule pairings for the 2018-19 season Wednesday, and for the third straight season, the Flyers and Rams will play twice in the regular season. That was one of the things that jumped out about the list of Dayton’s opponents.
Here are 10 things to know about the pairings:
1. Repeat opponents: In addition to two games against VCU, Dayton will play these teams twice: Duquesne, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Saint Louis. It’s the same group of five teams Dayton played twice last season.
2. Familiar foes: This will be the fourth straight season Dayton has played Duquesne twice in the regular season and the fifth straight season it has played two games against Saint Louis. Pittsburgh and St. Louis are the two A-10 cities closest to Dayton.
3. Who Dayton hosts: George Mason, La Salle, Richmond and Saint Joseph’s will visit UD Arena along with the five schools it plays home and away.
4. Where Dayton plays: The Flyers plays these teams on the road but not at home: Davidson, Fordham, George Washington and St. Bonaventure.
5. Best games: The A-10 race will be as wide open as it has ever been. Saint Louis, George Mason and Davidson, which won the A-10 tournament last season, are expected to be among the contenders.
Defending A-10 regular-season champion Rhode Island lost four senior starters. St. Bonaventure, which finished second, lost its two top scorers. Dayton, which finished 14-17 overall and placed ninth in the A-10 with an 8-10 mark, returns four starters.
6. Avoiding Philadelphia: Dayton doesn’t play at St. Joseph’s Hagan Arena or La Salle’s Tom Gola Arena for the second time in three years. The Flyers were blown out at both arenas last season (81-65 by St. Joseph’s and 73-51 by La Salle). The Flyers have lost nine straight games at St. Jospeh’s and four straight at La Salle.
» RECRUITING NEWS: 2019 recruit to visit Flyers
7. Return to New York City: In addition to the road game at Fordham’s Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx, Dayton will play in the Atlantic 10 tournament March 13-17 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The tournament will stay at the Barclays Center through 2021. It was played there from 2013-16 before moving to Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena in 2017 and Washington D.C.’s Capital One Arena in 2018.
8. History lesson: This is the fifth season the A-10 has played an 18-game schedule. The regular-season champions have finished 14-4 or 15-3 the past four seasons.
9. New faces: Both of the new coaches in the A-10 will visit UD Arena. Rhode Island’s David Cox replaced Dan Hurley, who now coaches Connecticut. Ashley Howard is the new coach at La Salle, which fired John Giannini in March after 14 seasons.
10. Looking ahead: The exact dates of the A-10 games will be announced at a later date. Last year, the A-10 released the complete schedule on Sept. 6.