Dayton (13-14, 7-8) seeks an elusive second road victory, one that would keep it contention for one of the top four seeds in the conference tournament.
“Rhode Island has been outstanding all year,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “Then you’ve got a couple of teams that of late have created a little bit of separation, but there’s a lot of us in position to improve our seeds as we head to the postseason. We’ve got three games left to take care of ourselves, and once you get to the postseason, anything can happen in these tournaments.”
Highlights: Dayton Flyers vs. Saint Louis
Highlights: Dayton Flyers beat Fordham
The A-10 tournament starts March 7 with the bottom four seeds playing in the first round at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The top four seeds get double byes and don’t start play until the quarterfinals on March 9.
» THANKING FANS: Dayton celebrates latest win with students
Everyone else starts play in the second round March 8. That’s where Dayton would fall if the season ended this week. It’s tied for sixth with George Mason, St. Joseph’s and Richmond. Virginia Commonwealth and Saint Louis (both 8-7) share fourth place.
The Flyers, who haven’t won more than two games in a row all season, would have to win four games in four days if they are seeded anywhere between fifth and 10. That’s why getting the double bye would be so important for Dayton. Of course, there’s also a chance it could fall into the bottom four and have to win five games in five days.
» PREVIEW: Dayton at Rhode Island
A victory at Rhode Island following wins against Fordham and Saint Louis at least would raise the hopes of Dayton making a run in the A-10 tournament.
“We feel we’ve played well against the best teams in our conference,” Grant said. “We go to Rhode Island, and we get another chance to measure ourselves against the standard bearer in our league on their home floor.”
» SAINT LOUIS GAME: Photos | Notes: Landers makes key play | Kostas steps up
Rhode Island is 14-0 at the Ryan Center and has won seven of its last eight games at home by double digits. The only A-10 team to come close to beating Rhode Island in Kingston was Duquesne. Rhode Island’s Stanford Robinson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Dukes 61-58 on Jan. 27.
In the first game against Rhode Island, the Flyers hung around for most of the first half but trailed 50-43 at halftime and got no closer than nine points in the final 10 minutes of the second half.
Josh Cunningham had one of his better games (32 points and 12 rebounds), but Dayton made 4 of 14 3-pointers and could not stop Rhode Island on the other end. A quartet of senior guards, led by Jared Terrell, has guided the Rams to one of the best seasons in school history. If their current winning percentage (.846) stands up, it would be their best since the 1940s.
"They've put this program, in a lot of ways, in uncharted territory this year with everything they've accomplished," Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley told the Providence Journal. "Special group. And we're not done."
Dayton at Rhode Island, 7 p.m., ESPN2, FM 95.7, AM 1290 WHIO