Dayton’s Holmes on NCAA tournament: ‘We deserve to be there, and we’re going to prove it’

Flyers chasing at-large berth but likely have to win A-10 tournament to play in NCAA tournament

Most of the Dayton Flyers were toddlers the last time the program won the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament. There aren’t even any clips of Dayton’s 79-72 victory against Temple in 2003 at UD Arena — at least not ones easily found. A Google search brings up a few old stories about Dayton’s first tournament championship since 1990 when it played in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.

That doesn’t mean the Flyers don’t know about the history. Forward Toumani Camara was asked about just that Tuesday before practice at the Cronin Center on campus.

“I know we haven’t won the tournament since 2003, right?” he said. “So, yeah, that’s huge. That’s the goal for sure, to try to win this tournament championship.”

Dayton (22-9) earned the No. 2 seed in the A-10 tournament, which started Wednesday with two games involving the bottom four seeds at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The Flyers will play in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Friday against No. 7 George Washington (12-17) or No. 10 Massachusetts (14-15).

Winning the A-10 tournament is Dayton’s only sure path to the NCAA tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi listed Dayton among his “First Four Out” of the at-large picture on Tuesday. Patrick Stevens, of the Washington Post, had Dayton in the same grouping.

On, Dayton appeared on 10 of the 141 updated brackets on Wednesday. A victory in the A-10 semifinals against another bubble team, No. 3 seed Virginia Commonwealth (21-8), which appeared on 58 brackets, could help Dayton’s cause.

Dayton is also chasing the likes of Indiana, Xavier, Southern Methodist, BYU and Rutgers in the race to the right side of the bubble. The Flyers know what’s at stake this weekend: the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2017.

“That is a goal for the season,” said freshman forward DaRon Holmes II, who was named the A-10 Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. “We deserve to be there, and we’re going to prove it.”

Dayton’s opponent: UMass has a 55% chance of beating George Washington in the second round Thursday, according to, though GW has won nine straight games in the series. George Washington won the only matchup this season, 77-68 at UMass on Feb. 9. James Bishop scored 24 points for the Colonials.

UMass and George Washington play at 6 p.m. in the third game of the day at Capital One Arena. No. 8 Fordham (15-15) plays No. 9 George Mason (14-15) at noon. No. 5 Saint Louis (21-10) plays No. 12 La Salle (10-18) or No. 13 Saint Joseph’s (11-18) at 2:30 p.m. Richmond (19-12) plays No. 11 Rhode Island (14-15) or No. 14 Duquesne (6-23) at 8:30 p.m. The Thursday games will air on the USA Network.

The No. 7 seed has defeated the No. 10 seed six times in the last 10 tournaments. George Washington hasn’t advanced to the quarterfinals of the A-10 tournament since 2017 and hasn’t reached the semifinals since 2014. UMass was a No. 5 seed last season and routed Saint Joseph’s in the second round before losing to Saint Louis.


Dayton vs. George Washington/UMass, 6 p.m., USA Network, 1290, 95.7

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