Dayton’s Jalen Crutcher drives to the basket against La Salle on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia. David Jablonski/Staff

Dayton to open Atlantic 10 schedule with two games in Philadelphia

Flyers open conference play Jan. 2 at La Salle

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The Flyers entered the league in 1995 at their darkest moment — on the heels of three seasons that saw them win 17 games — and they will play their 25th season with the type of roster that should contend for the regular-season championship and the tournament title, something Dayton hasn’t won since 2003.

The A-10 released the schedule pairings in June, so Dayton has known its opponents and the locations of the games for months. On Wednesday, the conference announced the full schedule. UD also announced television details for many of its games. Here are 10 things to know about the schedule.

1. Tough start: Archie Miller never won a game in Philadelphia in six seasons with the Flyers. Anthony Grant went 0-for-2 at La Salle and St. Joseph’s in his first season.

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The Flyers haven’t won a game at either Philadelphia school since 2011 and will get two quick chances to end that drought. They open A-10 play on Jan. 2 against La Salle at Tom Gola Arena, where they have lost four straight games, and play their second A-10 game Jan. 5 against St. Joseph’s at Hagan Arena, where they have lost nine straight games.

2. Home opener: Massachusetts swept Dayton two seasons ago, and the Flyers returned the favor last season. The teams play twice more this season with the Minutemen visiting UD Arena in Dayton’s third conference game and first A-10 home game on Jan. 11 and UD playing in Amherst, Mass., on Feb. 15.

3. Biggest games: Dayton plays the defending regular-season champion, Virginia Commonwealth, in its fourth game on Jan. 14 at UD Arena and on Feb. 18 in Richmond. The Rams swept the Flyers last season. Both games were decided in the final minute by go-ahead shots by Marcus Evans, who will be a fifth-year senior this season.

4. TV schedule: At least 19 of Dayton’s 31 regular-season games will be televised. Dayton will play six games on ESPN channels, eight on the CBS Sports Network, three on the NBC Sports Network and two on Stadium. The rest of Dayton’s TV schedule will be announced later.

5. Friday showcase: The A-10 schedule features seven Friday night games on ESPN channels. Dayton plays two of them: Jan. 17 at Saint Louis and Feb. 28 against Davidson at UD Arena. Both games start at 7 p.m.

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6. Rest time: Dayton plays Fordham on Feb. 1 at UD Arena and doesn’t return to action until the following Saturday, Feb. 8, at home against Saint Louis.

7. Easiest stretch: A home game against Rhode Island on Feb. 11 follows the Fordham and Saint Louis games. That means Dayton doesn’t play a road game in February until Feb. 15.

8. Varied days: Dayton plays A-10 games on every day of the week but Monday. It has one game on Sunday, one on Thursday, four on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, two on Friday and seven on Saturday.

9. Late show: The game times for 10 of the A-10 games are known. The times of the other eight games will be announced at a later date. The latest start for the Flyers will be a 9 p.m. game March 4 at Rhode Island.

10. Senior night: Dayton will close the regular season at home on March 7 against George Washington. This will be Senior Night for two local graduates: fifth-year senior forward Ryan Mikesell, a St. Henry graduate, and senior guard Trey Landers, a Wayne graduate. They are also the last two players on the team recruited by Miller and his staff.

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