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NCAA tournament team previews: Dayton Flyers

Devin Oliver Can Devin Oliver and the Flyers make a deep NCAA tournament run after an early exit in the A-10 tournament? (Joe Robbins/Getty)

As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. For more teams, click here.

Record: 23-10, 10-6 in Atlantic 10

RPI/SOS: 43/67

Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 113.3 (32nd) / 101.4 (103rd)

Impact player: Devin Oliver, senior forward. 12.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.4 apg

The Case For:

The Flyers were among the last at-larges to be selected for the tournament field, just three spots removed having to win an opening-round game in their home arena in order to reach the Round of 64. But don’t let the bubble status fool you. Dayton, which won nine of its final 10 regular season games, has a highly efficient offense both inside and out that operates at a deliberate pace (241st in average offensive possession length, per KenPom.com) and can control the flow of the game. Three players score in double figures for the Flyers: guard Jordan Sibert, an Ohio State transfer who shoots 43.9 percent from outside; Oliver, an athletic power forward whose game has made notable strides in each of his four seasons; and Dyshawn Pierre, a smooth wing from Ontario who doubles as the team’s best offensive rebounder. Just missing that list is Vee Sanford, a Georgetown import who comes off the bench to score 9.9 per game. Any of that quartet can lead the team in scoring on a given night and help compensate for whichever of them may not be having their best game. In a subregional with offensively challenged Ohio State and Syracuse, that kind of scoring ability can make a big difference.

The Case Against:

Dayton ranks just 213th in KenPom’s experience metric, with only Sibert (17 minutes over two games) and Sanford (10 minutes over two games) having seen NCAA tournament action. Compared to veteran-laden Ohio State and potential second opponent Syracuse, the Flyers will be the very new to the odd experiences of tourney life. Dayton’s defense is also fairly lackluster for a tournament team -- even A-10 afterthoughts Fordham, George Mason and Rhode Island scored more than a point per possession against it this year -- which could help the Buckeyes (and potentially the Orange) find their offensive groove. And although the Flyers have been playing much, much better over the past six weeks, a team that lost to Illinois State and Rhode Island and at home to USC could certainly have trouble against single-digit seeds in the NCAA tournament.

SI Prediction: Beat Ohio State in second round, beat Syracuse in third round, lose to Kansas in Sweet 16

View complete bracket predictions from SI.com’s panel of experts

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