Dayton women preparing as if they’ll play in NCAA tournament

Flyers have to wait until Monday for selection show

Coach Shauna Green doesn’t know how the Dayton Flyers will handle Selection Monday next week. They think they’ll hear their name called for the second straight season. They hope they will. They won’t know for sure.

That makes planning a public watch party a difficult decision. Last season, Dayton watched the show together with cameras rolling because they had the Atlantic 10 Conference’s automatic bid. If they play in the NCAA tournament this year, it will be as an at-large team.

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As of Tuesday, Green hadn’t made a decision about whether to watch the show in private or to hold a public party. However, she is planning as if Dayton will be playing somewhere in March Madness. That’s all she can do this week.

“We’re preparing as if we’re going, and then we’ll wait until Monday to see what happens,” Green said. “We gave them two days off. We’ll practice (Tuesday) and (Wednesday), take Thursday off and then practice two days and then take Sunday off. We’ll try to keep them in a normal routine and stay sharp. We’ve got some things we need to work on. We’ll address them this week. We’ll work on some things we haven’t had a chance to work on: zone defense and a couple other things defensively we just haven’t had the time to work on.”

The uncertainty for Dayton stems from its 58-53 loss Saturday to George Washington in the semifinals of the A-10 tournament. George Washington beat St. Joseph's 65-49 a day later to claim the automatic bid.

Dayton will hang its hopes on its regular-season championship, its record (23-6), its RPI (33) and non-conference victories against Virginia, ranked 31st in the RPI, No. 51 Harvard and No. 63 James Madison.

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In ESPN’s latest bracket prediction, it gave Dayton a No. 9 seed and matched the Flyers against No. 8 California in Starkville, Miss. The winner would play No. 1 seed Mississippi State or No. 16 Texas Southern in the second round.

The official bracket will be unveiled at 7 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Until then, all anyone can do is speculate. Green didn’t read any of the predictions until this week and mostly has relied on Athletic Director Neil Sullivan to keep her informed of the team’s chances.

“He’s the data guy; he breaks everything down,” Green said. “I never trust anything until I hear our name. Everyone says, ‘You guys are in.’ I don’t trust it until they call your name and you know where you’re going. It’s really hard to get into the NCAA tournament. I think we deserve a chance with what we’ve done.”

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