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March Forecast VI: Dayton Flyers, Wright State could meet in first round

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dayton Flyers highlights: Obi Toppin scores 22 vs. Rhode Island

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Dayton already a lock for the tournament, according to one expert

One month and three days remain until Selection Sunday. It falls on March 15 this season. It should once again be a holiday for the Dayton Flyers and their fans as the team moves closer and closer to securing an automatic bid and their fifth trip to the big dance in seven seasons.

» PLAYER FEATURE: Cohill makes impact in return to rotation

According to Eamonn Brennan, of The Athletic, Dayton is already a lock for the NCAA tournament. On Wednesday, in his weekly Bubble Watch story, he wrote, "OK, fine: It's time to lock in Dayton. We presented the case for caution last week. You never know. There are dangerous losses lurking in the Atlantic 10. What if the worst-case scenario happens? Blah blah blah. Dayton is 21-2 overall and 10-0 in the A-10, with three bad-loss-worthy fixtures (at UMass, at George Mason, home against George Washington) the rest of the way. The Flyers are also really, really good at basketball, so much so that it is very difficult to imagine them losing any of those games, or any number of multiple games in the A-10, period, and even if they did they'd probably get in the tournament anyway."

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Dayton (22-2, 11-0) has won 13 games in a row. It ranks sixth in the Associated Press poll and could move up a spot after Louisville lost to Georgia Tech on Wednesday, though the Flyers still have to win at Massachusetts on Saturday.

Dayton ranks fifth in the NCAA Evaluation Tool (same as last week), sixth in the Ken Pomeroy ratings (same), 14th in the Haslametrics ratings (one spot lower), eighth in ESPN's Basketball Power Index (one spot lower) and 13th in the Sagarin ratings (one spot lower).

The NCAA tournament selection committee met last week and released its list of the top 16 seeds based on their resumes to that point in the season on Saturday. Dayton received the No. 6 overall seed and a No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region. All 96 bracket predictions on BracketMatrix.com have Dayton in the field, and its average seed is 2.18. That's a slight improvement from last week when it was 2.30.

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All that points to Dayton making the tournament. It’s now playing to improve its seed. Here are what the experts are saying about where Dayton could land in the bracket:

Mike DeCourcy, Fox Sports/The Sporting NewsNo. 2 seed Dayton vs. No. 15 Colgate.

Joe Lunardi, ESPN: No. 2 Dayton vs. No. 15 UC Irvine in St. Louis.

Jerry Palm, CBSSports.com: No. 2 Dayton vs. No. 15 Little Rock in Cleveland with the winner playing No. 7 Ohio State or No. 10 Stanford, two programs Dayton beat in the 2014 NCAA tournament.

Jonathon Warriner, MakingTheMadness.com: No. 2 Dayton vs. No. 15 Wright State in Cleveland. The Raiders (21-5) lead the Horizon League by one game and will have to win the conference tournament to receive a NCAA bid.

» TOP GUARDS: Crutcher outshines Fatts Russell

Kerry Miller, BleacherReport.com: Another No. 2 Dayton vs. No. 15 Wright State matchup in Cleveland.

DelphiBracketology.com: And yet another No. 2 Dayton vs. No. 15 Wright State matchup in Cleveland with the winner playing Texas Tech or Archie Miller's Indiana.

Patrick Stevens, Washington Post: No. 2 Dayton vs. No. 15 Hofstra in Cleveland.