Dayton to play old Great Midwest rival in closed-door scrimmage

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Anthony Grant and Ryan Mikesell look ahead to the start of a new season.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Game on Oct. 26 is closed to the public

The Dayton Flyers will play the Cincinnati Bearcats in a closed-door scrimmage Oct. 26 at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, according to a source.

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NCAA rules allow Division I teams to scrimmage once in the preseason, but they aren’t allowed to announce the scrimmage or publicize it. The game is often referred to as a secret scrimmage. It’s rare for the scores or stats to be released from the scrimmages.

This will be the second time in three years Dayton's Anthony Grant has coached against his former assistant coach John Brannen. Dayton scrimmaged Northern Kentucky in 2017 when Brannen was the NKU head coach. This is Brannen's first season with the Bearcats. He was hired in April when Mick Cronin left for UCLA.

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Grant and Brannen first crossed paths in the 1995-96 season at Marshall University when Grant was an assistant coach on Billy Donovan’s staff and Brannen was a redshirt junior transfer from Morehead State. Brannen then worked on Grant’s staff in each of his three seasons at Virginia Commonwealth (2006-09) and then followed Grant to Alabama, working on his staff from 2009-15. When Alabama fired Grant after the 2014-15 regular season, Brannen served as the interim coach in the NIT.

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Last season, Dayton scrimmaged Pittsburgh at Denison University in Granville. It scrimmaged Purdue in Indianapolis in 2016, Marquette in 2015 in Indianapolis and Illinois in 2014.

This year's scrimmage comes one week before Dayton plays its lone public exhibition game against Cedarville at 5 p.m. Nov. 2 at UD Arena. A week later, the Flyers open the 2019-20 season at home against Indiana State at 7 p.m. Nov. 9.

Dayton and Cincinnati have played 91 times but not since 2010. Cincinnati has dominated the series, winning 61 of the meetings. UD and UC played four times in the two seasons (1993-94 and 1994-95) Dayton was in the Great Midwest Conference, and the Bearcats won all four meetings.

Cincinnati was picked to finish second in the American Athletic Conference by the Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook. Its top returner is Wilmington High School graduate Jarron Cumberland, a 6-foot-5 senior guard who won the AAC Player of the Year award last season. The Bearcats finished 28-7 last season and have played in the NCAA tournament nine seasons in a row.