Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series. Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days. We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Despite underachieving the past two seasons, Dayton Flyers head coach Brian Gregory found greener pastures this off-season at Georgia Tech. After serving as an assistant under his brother at Arizona the past two seasons, Archie Miller takes over a Flyer team that loses a couple of key contributors from last year.
Last Season: 7th, 7-9 in A-10, 22-14 overall
Predicted A-10 Finish: 4th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Josh Benson (Jr)/Matt Cavanaugh (Jr)
F: Luke Fabrizius (Sr)/Dean Oliver (So)/Alex Gavrilovic (Fr)
SF: Chris Johnson (Sr)/Ralph Hill (So)
SG: Paul Williams (Sr)
PG: Kevin Dillard (Jr) or Josh Parker (Sr)
Gone: F-Chris Wright, C-Devin Searcy, PG-Juwan Staten (transfer-West Virginia), SG-Brandon Spearman (transfer-Indian Hills CC)
The strength of this year’s Flyer team will be on the wing where Chris Johnson and Paul Williams return to the starting line-up. Johnson is a versatile, athletic lefty who can stroke it from deep and effect a basketball game in so many ways. Williams is also a threat from downtown and a terrific defender.
With Brandon Spearman transferring, depth is a serious concern on the wing. Ralph Hill only appeared in seven games last season and is only real option off the bench even though he is more than a combo forward. Therefore, you can expect to see Johnson and Williams log some heavy minutes.
There should be a healthy battle to see who wins the starting point guard spot since last year’s starter, Juwan Staten decided to transfer. Former Southern Illinois Saluki Kevin Dillard is eligible after sitting out last season He is a former Missouri Valley Freshman of the Year and led that conference in assists during his sophomore season. Josh Parker is the other candidate and served as the Flyers’ sixth man last year. Regardless of who wins the job, both players will see significant minutes since Dayton is thin at guard.
Senior Josh Benson took over the starting center spot midway through last season and will try to anchor a frontcourt with limited skill. Senior Luke Fabrizius has been a contributor off the bench the during his career at Dayton, but will probably be asked to take on a prominent role this year. He is not much of a threat in the paint, but can stretch defenses with his ability to stroke the ball. Matt Kavanaugh and Devin Oliver saw limited roles off the bench last season and will join freshman Alex Gavrilovic as the back-ups inside.
With only ten scholarship players eligible this season (Georgetown transfer Vee Sanford must sit out per NCAA rules), Miller and the Flyers will be somewhat short-handed this season and cannot afford any injuries. A trip to the NCAA Tournament is unlikely, but Archie can carry over what he learned from big brother Sean, Dayton should be back in the Atlantic-10 title picture in the near future.
Player to Watch: Chris Johnson
Johnson has somewhat flown under the radar the past couple of seasons with Chris Wright getting most of the pub. With Wright gone, Johnson will be the main focus for Dayton and poised for a potential break-out season. His explosiveness at the rim combined with the ability to light it up from deep makes him a tough match-up defensively.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 at Miami (FL)
11/24 vs. Wake Forest (Old Spice Classic)
11/25 vs. Arizona State/Fairfield (Old Spice Classic)
11/27 vs. Minnesota/DePaul/Texas Tech/Indiana State (Old Spice Classic)
12/7 vs. Alabama
12/21 vs. Seton Hall
12/30 vs. Ole Miss
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs
#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes
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 on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.
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