Dayton headed to NIT for third time four years

Flyers will play at Toledo in first round

Hours after learning they were the first team left out of the NCAA tournament Sunday, the Dayton Flyers received a No. 1 seed in the National Invitation Tournament.

Dayton (23-10) can’t play at home this week because of the First Four and will play at Toledo (26-7) in the first round at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The game will air on ESPN+.

Asked Monday about the disappointment of being left out of the NCAA tournament, Dayton Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said, “I’d say it’s always a gut punch. I don’t care if you’re the first team out or the 10th team. Our goal is we want to be playing in March and advancing in the NCAA tournament. From my perspective, a miss is a miss regardless.”

Dayton or Toledo will play No. 4 seed Vanderbilt (17-16), which has former Flyer Rodney Chatman on the roster, or Belmont (25-7), which Dayton beat 63-61 in the ESPN Events Invitational championship game in November. That game will take place in Nashville, Tenn., where Belmont and Vanderbilt are located.

The second-round game would be Saturday or Sunday. UD Arena is unavailable on both of those days as well because of boys basketball state championship games.

The other two games in Dayton’s corner of the 32-team field are: Cleveland State at No. 2 Xavier; and Iona at No. 3 Florida.

Toledo won the Mid-American Conference regular-season championship but lost to Akron in the MAC tournament semifinals. Toledo’s home court is Savage Arena, which seats 7,300 fans.

Dayton leads the series against Toledo 32-18. The teams haven’t played since 2009.

A 68-64 loss Saturday to Richmond in the Atlantic 10 Conference semifinals and Richmond’s victory Sunday against Davidson kept Dayton out of the NCAA tournament.

While Richmond and Davidson earned NCAA berths, three A-10 teams will play in the NIT. In addition to Dayton, St. Bonaventure earned a bid and will play at Colorado in the first round. Saint Louis will play at home against Northern Iowa. VCU will play at home against Princeton.

Dayton played in the NIT last season, losing 71-60 to Memphis in the first round at UNT Coliseum in Denton, Texas. The entire tournament, which was reduced from 32 teams to 16 teams, was played in Texas last season

Dayton also played in the NIT in 2019, losing 78-73 at Colorado in the first round.

Prior to that, Dayton had not played in the NIT since 2012 when it lost 84-75 at Iowa in the first round. That was the fourth NIT appearance in five seasons.

This will be Dayton’s 27th NIT appearance. It ranks second behind St. John’s (30) in total appearances. It has a 40-23 record and won the championship in 1962, 1968 and 2010 and finished as runner-up in 1951, 1952, 1955, 1956 and 1958.

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