Getting ranked easier than staying ranked for Dayton Flyers in last two decades

Current Flyers trying to buck trend by winning as a ranked team

The Dayton Flyers aced their first three tests as a ranked team, beating Houston Baptist, Saint Mary’s and Drake by a combined margin of 72 points. For the moment at least, they shot down the notion that Dayton teams that get ranked lose soon after and fall out of the poll.

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That idea has some merit, however, because the first Dayton team to enter the Associated Press poll enjoyed that ranking for only a few hours before losing. Dayton was a 17-point favorite against Youngstown State on Feb. 5, 1951, and had won 12 games in a row to earn the No. 18 ranking in what was then a top-20 poll but lost 76-63.

“Here after all that pushing and pulling on their behalf,” wrote Joe Burns, of the Dayton Daily News, the next day, “the University of Dayton Flyers finally make it into the top 20 college basketball teams in the land by Associated Press balloting. So what happens? So before the release date and the hour is reached, our heroes go out and get themselves knocked off a bunch of mere nobodies, the Youngstown State Penguins!”

Counting that first poll and the one released Monday in which Dayton climbed from No. 14 to No. 13, its highest ranking since 1967, Dayton has seen its name in the rankings in 101 different weeks and 23 different seasons. It was ranked in eight different seasons in the 1950s, in four seasons in the 1960s and in one season in the 1970s (1973-74) and never entered the top 25 in the next two decades.

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Since then, earning a ranking has become a more regular occurrence, but staying ranked has been challenging. Here’s a rundown of how the first nine Dayton teams ranked since the turn of the century — six of which advanced to the NCAA tournament — fared once they found their way into the poll.


Weeks ranked: One.

Highest ranking: No. 16.

Record while ranked: 0-2.

Loss that knocked them out: The Flyers lost their first two games after being ranked, falling to Cincinnati and Marshall.

Season result: Dayton finished 21-13 and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT, losing to Detroit.


Weeks ranked: Five.

Highest ranking: No. 24.

Record while ranked: 6-2.

Loss that knocked them out: The Flyers entered the poll in mid-February and stayed ranked until the end of the season.

Season result: Dayton finished 24-6 and lost to Tulsa in the first round of the NCAA tournament.


Weeks ranked: Three.

Highest ranking: No. 23.

Record while ranked: 3-1.

Loss that knocked them out: The Flyers lost 83-52 to Cincinnati on Dec. 23, 2003.

Season result: Dayton finished 24-9 and lost to DePaul in double overtime in the first round of the NCAA tournament.


Weeks ranked: Four.

Highest ranking: No. 14.

Record while ranked: 3-3.

Loss that knocked them out: The Flyers beat Akron, Rhode Island and Saint Louis after entering the poll at No. 20, allowing them to climb to No. 14. Then double-digit losses to Massachusetts, Xavier and Richmond dropped them to No. 16 and then out of the poll.

Season result: Dayton finished 23-11 and lost to Ohio State in the first round of the NIT. Chris Wright's ankle injury changed the course of the season. They were 14-1 with him and then lost nine of their next 16 games.


Weeks ranked: One.

Highest ranking: No. 25.

Record while ranked: 0-1.

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Loss that knocked them out: The Flyers lost 57-49 at Saint Louis on Feb. 21 in their first game as a ranked team.

Season result: Dayton finished 27-8 and beat West Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tournament.


Weeks ranked: Two.

Highest ranking: No. 18.

Record while ranked: 2-2.

Loss that knocked them out: Dayton ranked 21st in the preseason poll and climbed to No. 18 after beating Creighton in the season opener. Then they went 1-2 at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, losing to Villanova and Kansas State.

Season result: Dayton finished 25-12 and won the NIT.


Weeks ranked: One.

Highest ranking: No. 25.

Record while ranked: 1-1.

Loss that knocked them out: The Flyers climbed into the poll with a third-place finish at the Maui Invitational and beat Delaware State in their first game after the tournament. They then lost at Illinois State.

Season result: Dayton finished 26-11 and reached the Elite Eight before losing to Florida.


Weeks ranked: One.

Highest ranking: No. 22.

Record while ranked: 1-1.

Loss that knocked them out: Dayton entered the poll after winning eight games in a row but then lost its first game as a ranked team, 77-60 at Davidson.

Season result: Dayton finished 27-9 and beat Boise State and Providence in the NCAA tournament before losing to Oklahoma.


Weeks ranked: Four.

Highest ranking: No. 15.

Record while ranked: 3-3.

Loss that knocked them out: This was the rare season in which Dayton earned a ranking, dropped out of the poll and then returned. A 12-2 start got Dayton into the poll at No. 25. A 61-57 loss at La Salle on Jan. 9 cost it that ranking. Then the Flyers won six straight games to earn a No. 24 ranking. This time, they stayed ranked in three straight polls before losing back-to-back games to Saint Joseph's and St. Bonaventure.

Season result: Dayton finished 25-8 and lost to Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

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