Seven weeks before Selection Sunday, the No. 7 Flyers (17-2, 6-0) have built a resume worthy of the NCAA tournament. It’s still too early to call them a lock with so many obstacles ahead on the Atlantic 10 Conference schedule, but they’re moving close to that status with each victory.
As of Thursday, all 93 bracket predictions listed on BracketMatrix.com included the Flyers, whose average seed was 2.86. It was 3.57 a week ago and 3.91 two weeks ago.Dayton has never received higher than a No. 4 seed (2003) in the tournament.
The various analytic rankings love Dayton. It ranks fifth in the NCAA Evaluation Tool (one better than last week), fourth in the Ken Pomeroy ratings (two better), sixth in the Haslametrics ratings (one spot lower), fifth in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (one spot better) and 13th in the Sagarin ratings.
Here’s a glance at where Dayton stands in the minds of the experts evaluating the NCAA field on a daily or weekly basis.
Mike DeCourcy, Fox Sports/The Sporting News: He had No. 4 seed Dayton playing No. 13 seed Wright State in the first round last week and moved the Flyers up to a No. 2 seed playing Murray State this week after Dayton’s victories against Virginia Commonwealth and Saint Louis.
Joe Lunardi, ESPN: He moved Dayton from a No. 3 seed to a No. 2 seed this week, matching it with No. 15 Montana in Cleveland, the site most Dayton fans want to see for the Flyers in the first round. The next-closes first-round site would be Saint Louis, where Dayton played Syracuse in the first round in 2016.
Eamonn Brennan, The Athletic: In his weekly Bubble Watch story, he listed Dayton among teams that “should be in” the NCAA field and wrote, “The Flyers are two overtime periods — one against Kansas, one against Colorado, both on neutral floors — from matching San Diego State’s 18-0 start. They got some of that OT karma back Friday at Saint Louis, where they held on for a 78-76 win in 45 minutes despite the Billikens getting 26 points in 33 bench minutes from Javonte Perkins. There will be more grinding road tests in the A-10 to come, but Dayton looks more than up to the task.”
Jerry Palm, CBSSports.com: He moved Dayton from a No. 3 seed to a No. 2 seed after its victory at Saint Louis and matches it with the team from across town, Wright State, in the first round. The Raiders (17-4, 6-1) will have to win the Horizon League tournament to play in the big dance but should be favored to do that. They sit alone in first place and lead Northern Kentucky by a game.
Chris Dobbertean, SBNation.com: Like Lunardi, he has No. 2 seed Dayton playing No. 15 Montana in Cleveland with an interesting possible second-round matchup against Archie Miller and Indiana.
Jonathon Warriner, MakingTheMadness.com: He moved Dayton from a No. 4 to No. 3 seed, giving it a game against No. 14 William & Mary in St. Louis.
Kerry Miller, BleacherReport.com: He gives No. 3 seed Dayton a game against No. 14 seed Georgia State in Greensboro, N.C.
DelphiBracketology.com: No. 4 seed Dayton vs. No. 13 seed Stephen F. Austin in Albany.
Patrick Stevens, Washington Post: He wrote, “The Flyers are going to have a viable shot at a No. 2 or No. 3 seed if they zip through their league with minimal bumps.” His prediction: No. 3 seed Dayton vs. No. 14 Colgate in Albany.
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