The newest member of the Dayton Flyers, forward Zimife Nwokeji, was shooting baskets at the Cronin Center on Thursday as Jalen Crutcher and Obi Toppin talked to reporters and took turns trying to distract the other during the interviews.
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Nwokeji, who committed to Dayton in December and will enroll in classes this semester, got to see two polished veterans answer questions about the 2-0 Philadelphia trip the Flyers completed Sunday and the next game against Massachusetts on Saturday.
Nwokeji arrived in Dayton on Wednesday. He will practice with the team this season and make his UD debut next season as a redshirt freshman. He’ll get to experience what’s shaping up to be one of the most enjoyable seasons for the Flyers and their fans in years.
About nine weeks before Selection Sunday, the No. 15 Flyers (13-2) have built a resume worthy of the NCAA tournament. Of course, they have to survive the grind of the Atlantic 10 Conference schedule to keep themselves in the tournament picture.
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As of Thursday, all 64 bracket predictions listed on BracketMatrix.com included the Flyers, whose average seed was 3.91. The various analytic rankings love Dayton. It ranks ninth in the NCAA Evaluation Tool, eighth in the Ken Pomeroy ratings and fifth in the Haslametrics 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.
Joe Lunardi, ESPN: In his latest update Tuesday, he had Dayton getting a No. 4 seed in the East Region and playing No. 13 seed Stephen F. Austin in the first round in St. Louis.
Eamonn Brennan, The Athletic: In his first edition of Bubble Watch this season, he listed Dayton among teams that “should be in” the NCAA field and wrote, “Dayton’s coming-out party in Maui, which included blowout wins over Georgia and Virginia Tech and one of the best games of the season in the title game, an overtime loss to Kansas, revealed a team far better than even the most bullish Flyers fans might have expected.”
» ANALYSIS: Comparing current UD team to great teams of past
Jerry Palm, CBSSports.com: He also has Dayton as a No. 3 seed. Their first-round opponent in his prediction is Colgate. The location is Albany, N.Y.
Patrick Stevens, WashingtonPost.com: He also has Dayton playing in Albany as a No. 4 seed facing Vermont.
Chris Dobbertean, SBNation.com: He gives No. 3 seed Dayton a first-round matchup against Rider in St. Louis.
Jonathon Warriner, MakingTheMadness.com: He matches No. 5 seed Dayton against No. 12 seed Liberty in Greensboro, N.C.
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