Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
With the addition of Butler and VCU, the Atlantic 10 conference is stronger than ever. As a result, the Dayton Flyers figure to get lost in the mix.
Last Season: T-5th, 9-7 in A-10, 20-13 overall
Predicted A-10 Finish: 8th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Josh Benson (Sr)/Alex Gavrilovic (So)/Jalen Robinson (Fr)
PF: Matt Kavanaugh (Sr)/Devin Oliver (Jr)/Devin Scott (Fr)
SF: Matt Derenbecker (So)/Dyshawn Pierre (Fr)
SG: Vee Sanford (Jr)
PG: Kevin Dillard (Sr)/Khari Price (Fr)
Gone: G/F-Chris Johnson, SG-Paul Williams, F-Luke Fabrizius, PG-Josh Parker, SF-Ralph Hill (transfer-Oakland)
Archie Miller’s first season at Dayton was very similar to recent years; a competitive team that was able to hold its own but ultimately fell short of the NCAA Tournament. The Flyers were hampered by injury and left short-handed which didn’t help the cause. This year, they must replace four valuable role players.
Back to run the show is leading scorer and assist man, Kevin Dillard. After transferring in from Southern Illinois, The Second Team All-Atlantic 10 honoree made the most of his first season and will bring valuable experience and scoring to the backcourt. He figures to be joined by Georgetown transfer Vee Sanford at the other starting guard position. Sanford was seldom used during his years with the Hoyas but figures to be a key part of UD’s offense this season. Freshman Khari Price will serve as the team’s back-up point guard.
Another transfer, Matt Derenbecker from LSU, becomes eligible and will likely start at small forward. He is an inside/outside threat who started 16 games during his lone season with the Tigers. The Flyers most talented incoming freshman, Dyshawn Pierre will bring some athleticism off the bench and should push Derenbecker for playing time.
Miller will have plenty of options in his frontcourt led by seniors Josh Benson and Matt Kavanaugh. Benson is recovering from a torn ACL that cut last season short. He relies more on his length and athleticism to be effective inside while Kavanaugh is more of a banger down low. Devin Oliver brings energy and rebounding off the bench while Gavrilovic saw decent minutes in a reserve role last season as well. High school teammates Jalen Robinson and Devin Scott will find playing time hard to come by but add depth in case of injury.
Dayton also picked up a key transfer in Ohio State’s Jordan Sibert. He saw limited action the past two seasons in Columbus and will have to sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules. With Dillard in the final year of his eligibility, Sibert will become a key contributor in 2013-14.
It shows the depth in the A-10 this season that I am predicting Dayton to finish 8th in the conference but still be ranked 92nd in the nation. Fact of the matter is that the Flyers lose too much from last year’s team and don’t have enough returning to have a real chance of dancing in March.
Player to Watch: Vee Sanford
Sanford is going to be the x-factor for Dayton this season. Dillard will be the Flyers’ go-to scorer but there is no true second banana behind him. That is a role that Sanford must step into for UD to have any chance of leapfrogging the teams ahead of them in the A-10.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 vs. Colorado (Charleston Classic)
11/15 vs. Baylor/Boston College (Charleston Classic)
11/15 vs. Murray State/Auburn/St. John’s/Charleston (Charleston Classic)
12/5 at Alabama
12/8 vs. Miami FL
12/22 vs. Murray State
12/30 at USC
1/5 vs. UAB
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Follow paulmbanks