Alabama Basketball Preview: Dayton Flyers

Alabama basketball needs to play well during the non-conference portion of its schedule, and a win against a program as solid as Dayton would be quite valuable.

Alabama basketball will face the Dayton Flyers in their second game of the season Tuesday at Coleman Coliseum (12:15 pm CT, ESPN2). Both teams are 1-0, after Alabama beat Coastal Carolina and Dayton defeated Austin Peay. The game will be part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tipoff Marathon (which helps to explain the odd start time).

This game will be a big test for the Crimson Tide for several reasons. The first is that Dayton is a very good team. Although the Flyers lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, they drew a 7-seed, and faced eventual Final Four contender Syracuse in that game. Dayton is fielding a similar roster this year, and has high expectations.

ICYMI: Alabama downs Coastal Carolina, 70-53

The second reason for this game’s importance is what happened when Alabama faced Dayton last year. That game, a 80-48 drubbing in Ohio, took away a lot of the excitement after an opening win and was a reminder that the 2015-16 Crimson Tide had a long way to go. This year, in Tuscaloosa, a good showing would do a lot to get rid of the bad taste of that loss.

Of course, beating Dayton will be difficult, and a loss here shouldn’t be seen as an indictment of either Avery Johnson or this roster. A blowout loss would raise a lot of questions, but any outcome short of that will be nothing more than a reminder that this is still only the second game of the season.

Alabama basketball needs to play well during the non-conference portion of its schedule, and a win against a program as solid as Dayton would be quite valuable. Deep statistical analyses of either program are difficult this early in the year, and so are accurate overall predictions. Both teams have high hopes, though, and both teams will clearly expect to get the win on Tuesday in Tuscaloosa.

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