Dayton comes into St. Louis riding a six-game winning streak and it has won each of its first four conference games. The Flyers enter Friday’s matchup ranked No. 13 in the current AP Polls with their only two losses of the season coming on neutral floor against Kansas and Colorado. Meanwhile, St. Louis bounced back from a loss in its A10 opener to win each of its next three conference contests and they are fresh off of their best win of the season in a Tier-A contest on the road against Richmond. Can the Billikens keep their momentum going against an undefeated Dayton team in A10 action on Friday night?
Dayton remains undefeated in conference playDayton riled off its sixth consecutive victory 79-65 at home over VCU on Tuesday night. Obi Toppin finished with a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds while junior guard Jalen Crutcher added 20 points and five assists to help the Flyers remain undefeated in A10 play.
Anthony Grant has guided the Flyers to an impressive 15-2 start and they enter the weekend slotted at No. 5 in the latest KenPom rankings. Dayton has morphed into one of the nation’s top offensive teams this season, scoring a healthy 116.0 points per 100 possessions for the season (2nd in the NCAA). Led by Toppin (19.5 points, 7.5 rebounds per game), the Flyers sport the top effective field goal percentage in the country at 59.7 percent and the top 2-point shooting percentage in the nation at 62.2 percent (1st in the NCAA). They have shot a healthy 37.3 percent from 3-point range (32nd in the NCAA) while assisting on 62.6 percent of their total made field goal attempts for the season.
On defense, Dayton has given up 91.9 points per 100 possessions (39th in the NCAA) while forcing opposing teams to turn the ball over 21.4 percent of the time (73rd in the NCAA). The Flyers have held teams to just 46.2 percent shooting from 2-point range (88th in the NCAA) and an offensive rebounding rate of only 26.3 percent (94th in the NCAA).
Billikens extend conference winning streak to three gamesSt. Louis cruised to a 74-58 victory on the road against Richmond on Saturday to improve to 3-1 in conference play. Jordan Goodwin led the way with 26 points and nine rebounds while Javonte Perkins chipped in 14 points off of the bench for the Billikens, who held Richmond to just 4-for-21 shooting from deep and forced 15 turnovers on the night to escape with the win.
Travis Ford’s squad enters the weekend ranked No. 88 in the latest KenPom rankings following their strong start to the conference season. St. Louis hasn’t been efficient offensively but they’ve managed to win 14 of their first 17 games thanks to a defense that ranks among the top teams in the country in several major statistical categories. The Billikens have surrendered only 93.0 points per 100 possessions for the season (52nd in the NCAA) while forcing teams to turn the ball over 21.3 percent of the time (75th in the NCAA). For the season, they’ve limited teams to just 42.1 percent shooting from inside the arc (15th in the NCAA) but that number has been trending in the wrong direction since the start of league play. In four A10 contests, opponents have shot a red-hot 49.3 percent from inside the arc against the Billikens’ defense (9th in the A10).
On offense, St. Louis has scored 101.4 points per 100 possessions for the season (162nd in the NCAA) but that number has plummeted to only 94.7 points per 100 possessions during conference play (8th in the A10). St. Louis has shot just 49.3 percent from inside the arc (163rd in the NCAA), 32.3 percent from deep (208th in the NCAA), and 56.2 percent from the free-throw line as a team (353rd in the NCAA). Instead, they’ve managed to make up points by crashing the offensive glass (24th in the NCAA) and getting to the free-throw line at a high rate (34th in the NCAA).