The Dayton Flyers began practice Thursday with their eyes closed, standing still as statues on the court at the KFC Yum! Center, visualizing taking and making shots. They ended the practice the same way. This is something the Flyers have done for years.
These were the last moments of peace before the storm of the NCAA tournament. For a program that has played in March Madness two years in a row and eight of the last nine years, the pressure shouldn’t be an issue at 2:30 p.m. Friday when No. 9 seed Dayton (23-6) plays No. 9 seed Marquette (23-9) in the first round.
“I don’t have to tell them what’s at stake here,” said Dayton coach Shauna Green in a press conference before practice. “I don’t have to tell them really anything about that. They know what’s on the line. They know what has to be done.”
Green told the players the main thing she wants to see Friday is effort.
“I just want us to play as hard as we possibly can play,” Green said. “I want to see us leave everything out there, every ounce of us. Just leave it on the floor and have no regrets. Whatever happens, I want to walk off that floor with zero regrets, especially these seniors. I want them to leave it all out there really. We don’t have to get into too much about that with this group because they’ve been here. Two of these seniors have been to the NCAA tournament three out of their four years, so they are experienced. They know what it’s about, and they know what it takes to win here, too, because they’re freshman year they were part of our Elite Eight team. We’re coming here not just to be happy to be here. We’re coming in here with a goal and a task at hand to accomplish.