Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#869 Davidson 140.5 vs.
#870 Dayton -10.5
Friday, February 28, 2020 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Davidson Wildcats will travel to the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio on Friday night as they prepare to wind down the Atlantic 10 Conference season with a heavyweight battle versus the No.4-ranked Dayton Flyers.

Davidson has won four of its last five games to enter with a 9-6 record in conference play. Meanwhile, Dayton has fought off some feisty opponents to remain undefeated during the A10 season. Four of the Flyers last six games have been decided by eight points or less but they’ve still managed to push their current winning streak to a whopping 17 games. Dayton still has some work to do to finish the A10 with a perfect 18-0 record, including an impending road trip to Rhode Island next week. Will the Flyers get caught looking ahead in a tough matchup at home against a surging Davidson team on Friday night?

Wildcats lead by as many as 31 in win over La Salle

Davidson cruised to a 74-49 blowout victory at home against La Salle on Tuesday for its second straight A10 victory. Kellan Grady scored a team-high 22 points and Jon Axel Gudmundsson added 14 points and four assists for the Wildcats, who never trailed and led by as many as 31 points in the win. Davidson was able to cover the 11-point spread thanks to a cold shooting performance from the Explorers, who shot just 2-for-16 from beyond the arc and 60 percent from the free throw line on the night.

Bob McKillop’s squad comes into the weekend ranked No. 65 in the latest KenPom rankings after keeping pace in the league standings. The fifth-place Wildcats have scored 111.3 points per 100 possessions for the season (31st in the NCAA) and a healthy 111.0 points per 100 possessions during A10 play (2nd in the A10). Davidson does most of its damage from beyond the arc or at the free throw line. Through 15 conference games, the Wildcats have shot 43.7 percent of their total field goal attempts from behind the 3-point line (4th in the A10) while sporting a free throw rate of 36.5 percent (5th in the A10). That’s a good thing considering they lead the conference in both 3-point percentage (37.3 percent) and free throw percentage (76.4 percent) so far this year. McKillop’s squad has also been disciplined with the basketball, turning the ball over on just 16.4 percent of their offensive possessions (4th in the A10).

On defense, Davidson has surrendered 100.1 points per 100 possessions for the season (137th in the NCAA) and 98.6 points per 100 possessions versus league opponents (6th in the A10). The Wildcats sport the best 2-point defense in the A10, limiting teams to just 44.2 percent shooting from inside the arc through 15 games. They also do a good job of keeping opposing teams off of the offensive glass (3rd in the A10) and off of the free throw line (4th in the A10).

Dayton survives trap game vs. George Mason

Dayton survived a sluggish performance on Tuesday night, taking down George Mason 62-55 as 12-point favorites on the road. Obi Toppin finished with 19 points and seven rebounds while Jalen Crutcher chipped in 13 for the Flyers, who shot just 3-for-16 from 3-point range on the night. With the win, the Flyers clinched at least a share of the A10 title.

Anthony Grant is in the midst of a truly special season at Dayton. The third-year coach has guided the Flyers to a 26-2 overall record, including a perfect 15-0 mark in A10 play. They come into Friday’s matchup slotted at No. 6 in the latest KenPom rankings and No. 4 in the current AP Top-25 Polls. ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi also has the Flyers pegged as a No. 2 seed in his latest NCAA Tournament projections in what will be Grant’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012 and his first as the head coach at Dayton.

Led by Toppin (19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds per game), who has become a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate, the Flyers have averaged 117.4 points per 100 possessions for the season and a league-best 112.7 points per 100 possessions versus A10 opponents. Dayton owns the top effective field goal percentage in the A10 at 57.2 percent and it has shot a blistering 61.2 percent from 2-point range (1st in the A10) during conference play.

On defense, the Flyers have allowed 93.9 points per 100 possessions for the year (51st in the NCAA) and 94.7 points per 100 possessions versus league opponents (3rd in the A10). While it has struggled on the defensive glass at times (11th in the A10), Dayton sports the top effective field goal percentage defense in the A10 at 45.1 percent. Opposing teams have shot just 44.7 percent from inside the arc (2nd in the A10) and 30.7 percent from 3-point range (3rd in the A10) versus the Flyers’ defense during the conference season.

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The Flyers might have gotten caught looking ahead to their matchup against Dayton over the weekend. Dayton squeaked by George Mason but don’t expect the Wildcats to catch them by surprise here. This will be the first matchup of the season between these two teams but Davidson has struggled against top-ranked teams this year and Dayton will be the toughest opponent they’ve faced. The Wildcats are just 2-6 against top-100 teams and both of those wins came at home. In three conference road games against top-100 opponents, they’ve lost by an average of eight points, so this number doesn’t seem like a stretch. Look for Dayton to bounce back and cover the spread at home in this A10 showdown on Friday night. 

Prediction: Dayton Flyers

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Dayton has been one the best offensive teams in the country but Davidson hasn’t been too far behind in terms of its efficiency during league play. Both of these teams land on the slower side of the pace spectrum, so possessions are going to be at a premium in this one. But don’t let that fool you into thinking this will be a low-scoring game. Dayton has benefited from opposing teams shooting just 64.5 percent from the free throw line during conference play. That’s simply not going to happen here. The Wildcats have shot a league-best 76.4 percent from the free throw line and 37.3 percent from 3-point range coming into this game. And while Davidson sports the best 2-point defense in the conference, I’m not sure they have what it takes to stop Toppin on the inside. Look for this game to go over the projected total on Friday night.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.