The Dayton Flyers won five of their first games in the 2018-19 season. That’s only a one-win improvement over Anthony Grant’s first season as coach in the same time frame.
However, the numbers do show an improved team, and that could add up to a big change in the win-loss column by March.
Advanced analytics show a team that has made major strides on defense and shown some improvement on offense. Here’s a glance at the numbers:
Record performance: Dayton had an effective field-goal percentage of 77.8 in a 98-59 victory Tuesday against Detroit Mercy at UD Arena.
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This was its best mark in this category since 2002, which is as far back as the KenPom.com numbers go. Its previous best mark of 76.6 was set in a 106-79 victory against Virginia Commonwealth last season. Four of Dayton’s 10-best marks have come in the last two seasons.
Effective field-goal percentage takes into account the fact that 3-pointers are worth more than 2-pointers. Dayton made 37 of 54 field goals, including 9 of 18 3-pointers.
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Defensive efficiency: Dayton’s defense ranks 84th out of 351 teams in the country in efficiency (99.1). This measures points allowed per 100 possessions and is adjusted for the quality of the opponent, the site of the game and the date of the game. Recent games count more. Last season, Dayton ranked 238th. In Archie Miller’s final three seasons, Dayton ranked in the top 50 every season.
Offensive efficiency: Dayton ranks 92nd (107.4). That’s an improvement over last season when it ranked 109th. It ranked 53rd in 2017, the last season it made the NCAA tournament.
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Accurate shooting: Obi Toppin ranks 84th in the country in 2-point field-goal percentage (68.8), and Dayton ranks 11th as a team (58.5).
Toppin is averaging 12.4 points per game, putting him within reach of some of the top freshman seasons in school history. Johnny Davis set the freshman scoring average record (14.3) in 1973-74. If Toppin continues on his current pace, his scoring average would rank fifth in school history for a freshman.
Weak spot: Dayton ranks 277th in the country in free-throw percentage (65.1) and 204th in free-throw rate, which measures a team’s ability to get to the line. Last season, Dayton ranked 117th in free-throw percentage (73.1) and 226th in free-throw rate. Dayton finished fourth in the country in free-throw rate in 2014-15.
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