Atlantic 10 meets Midwest Valley Saturday as the Indiana State Sycamores visit the Dayton Flyers. Last Season, Indiana State finished 15-16 overall and 7-11 in conference play while posting their fifth straight losing record. Pressure is mounting for tenth-year head coach Greg Lansing to bring positive results for his middling program.
Meanwhile, once a perennial NCAA Tournament mainstay, the Dayton Flyers haven’t tasted March action since 2018. Though following a 14-17 finish in 17-18, head coach Anthony Grant’s men rebounded last season while winning 21 games. Seated on a 2019 NCAA bubble, the Flyers became one of the first teams not invited to the Big Dance. Deflated, Dayton lost 78-73 vs. Colorado in first round NIT play.
That setback certainly hasn’t tempered the program’s preseason expectations as the Flyers return several faces from last year while adding regarded transfers. Dayton finished 2019 with a 13-5 conference mark.
The Flyers open as -13.5 point favorites for today’s contest according to pregame.com.
With Lansing approaching hot seat, Sycamores feeling pressureFeeling a sense of urgency, Indiana State will rely on its experienced backcourt to navigate their upcoming schedule. Tyreke Key leads that charge. As a sophomore Key averaged an MVC-best 17.4 ppg and much more is expected from the Celina, Tennessee native. More is also expected of Key’s backcourt mate Jordan Barnes. Barnes averaged 14.6 ppg last year, but struggled down the stretch, shooting .333 from distance overall amid Indiana State’s 3-7 finish.
While backcourt performance remains vital for the Sycamores, interior presence became an off-season sticking point. Enter 6-8, 280 lb. junior college transfer Chris Agbo. Not a division one scoring threat, nevertheless, Agbo’s burly presence will prove large for a team that routinely lost inside battles last season.
The Sycamores are set to open the 2019-20 season at Dayton on Saturday night. Tip-off is set for 7 pm (ET) and the game can be seen live nationally on ESPN+#MarchOn— Sycamore Basketball (@IndStMBB) November 7, 2019
Wings Cooper Neese (8.9 ppg) & Christian Williams (7.9) complete the Sycamores’ main rotation. Rostering seven upperclassmen, Indiana State will rise and fall on the backs of its juniors and seniors.
Last season the Sycamores averaged 69.2 ppg and allowed 71.5 ppg. Opponents shot 45.1 percent vs. Indiana State in 2019.
Dayton expected to make another strong A-10 runReturning a mix of talented players which earned a 13-5 A-10 mark last year, the Dayton Flyers are among their conference’s preseason front runners. 6-9 sophomore Obi Toppin (14.4 ppg) heads the Flyer’s lead quartet consisting of Jalen Crutcher (13.2 ppg), Ryan Mikesell (10.1) and Trey Landers (8.2).
🚨🚨🚨Meet your 2019-2020 @DaytonFlyers squad!— Dayton Basketball (@DaytonMBB) October 15, 2019
5⃣3⃣ @CdwilsonWilson pic.twitter.com/g4kPXQseZL
After a seven-win 2019 improvement, the Flyers upperclassmen laden roster is set to take another forward step this winter. Anthony Grant’s defensive principles have placed his group’s defensive efficiency among the nation’s best (66.2 points allowed, #46 NCAA). Now, offensive contributions are needed for a program that verges on NCAA Tournament inclusion. Expect a quality Dayton run if Toppin and company up their mid-pack 72.9 ppg output.
Trends courtesy of Covers.com
- Sycamores are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games.
- Sycamores are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. Atlantic 10.
- Flyers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Saturday games.
- Flyers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. Missouri Valley.