Flyers lose home NIT game to First Four

March 12, 2012

Dayton coach Archie Miller appreciated the fact that his Flyers were going to be in the NIT. He liked that they were getting a No. 2 seed.

But instead of getting the home game that should merit, the 20-12 Flyers are headed for Iowa to play the 17-16 Hawkeyes on March 13 for their first-round game because the UD Arena is booked for the NCAA's "First Four."

"It's a good seed," Miller said in a Dayton Daily News report. "Typically, the 1s and 2s are really set up. You're at home.

"Us having to go on the road doesn't make us feel real good. But the fact we're a 2 seed, if we do happen to win, we'll get another game at UD Arena."

That potential second-round game would be against the winner of the first-round matchup between Oregon and LSU.

If the Flyers should win their first two games and the No. 1 seed in their bracket, Washington, should lose, the Flyers would play their third-round game at home with a chance to go to the NIT semifinals in New York.

Though the Flyers are not in the much-preferred NCAA Tournament, Miller likes the fact his team, which lost a one-point game to Xavier in the A-10 tourney quarterfinals, is getting another opportunity to play.

"You look at the hurt in our guys' eyes after their loss to Xavier the other day," Miller told the newspaper. "That was a team that did not want to see the season end and was also playing really good basketball.

"I think our guys will be really, really excited to play."


UD has positive NIT history

--Dayton has won three NIT titles, the last in 2010. The Flyers also won the event in 1962 and 1968. The Flyers' 24th NIT appearance is second only to the 27 of St. John's.

--Dayton and Iowa have met only once. The Hawkeyes beat the Flyers 61-54 on Dec. 23, 1980, to win the Dayton Classic.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think everyone knows the NCAA Tournament is the dream. But I'll say this: Making the NIT nowadays isn't very easy, especially for a team in the Atlantic 10." -- Coach Archie Miller, in the Dayton Daily News, after his Dayton team made the NIT field.


SCOUTING REPORT: Junior Kevin Dillard made a big difference for the Flyers at the point. In addition to handing out 192 assists, he also is leading the Flyers in scoring (13.0 points per game) and steals (45 on the season). Senior F Chris Johnson is shooting better than 40 percent from the field and is averaging 12.6 points a game. He also leads in rebounding (6.2 boards per game). Junior Matt Kavanaugh has been a surprise contributor after playing sparingly his first two years.

FUTURES WATCH: Dayton looks to add some rebounding and defense, which were issues at times, with two 6-foot-9 forwards, Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott, both from Columbus, Ohio, joining the team. Kevin Dillard looks to get backup help from a third signee, PG Jevon Thomas from New York.

REGULAR SEASON REVIEW: The Flyers assumed the early lead in the conference but lost their grip after dropping four in a row starting in late January. They remained in the middle of the standings on their way to a 9-7 Atlantic 10 mark. The most disappointing loss was a three-point overtime decision at Xavier when they couldn't contain Musketeers G Tu Holloway in the extra period. The Flyers haven't won at Xavier since 1981, a span that includes 27 losses.


--Junior G Kevin Dillard had 192 assists through March 11, the third-best single-season total in Dayton history.

--Sophomore F Devin Oliver had averaged 10.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in six starts this season through the Atlantic 10 tournament.