Dayton fears Boise State could snap its home-court streak

Publish date:

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) The NCAA Tournament has a home team for the first time in 28 years. And the Dayton Flyers aren't exactly all revved up about it.

Partly, it's because they'd rather have skipped the First Four. Mostly, it's because a long home-court winning streak can be a burden at this time of the season. And the Flyers are playing a team that has a knack for winning in tough places.

Dayton (25-8) faces Boise State (25-8) on Wednesday night, the first time since 1987 that a school has played an NCAA Tournament game on its home court. Since 1989, teams have been prohibited from doing so, with the First Four the only exception - though it's not unusual for top seeds to play nearby in front of a partisan crowd, such as Kentucky's games in Louisville this week.

Dayton is 16-0 at home this season and has won its last 21 overall at UD Arena, the seventh-longest active streak in Division I.

''When we're playing a home game, we have about as good of a home-court advantage as anyone does in college basketball,'' coach Archie Miller said. ''But I'll also tell you that anyone who is billing this as a home game or a walk-through, I just think they're really underappreciating how good Boise State is.

''If we were playing a regular-season game at home versus Boise State, you'd be sick to your stomach because you know what you're in for.''

Boise State went 8-5 on the road and had some of its best moments on other teams' courts. The Broncos got their first wins at New Mexico and at Utah State, where they had been 0-18 all-time. They also ended San Diego State's 29-game home winning streak Feb. 28.

''The great thing about this team that we have is it's been a year of milestones, been a year of firsts,'' coach Leon Rice said.

The winner will play sixth-seeded Providence on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

Some things to watch in their First Four game:

HOME COURT HISTORY: The last two teams to play NCAA Tournament games on their home courts were Arizona and Syracuse in 1987, according to STATS. The only other time that the Flyers played an NCAA Tournament game on their home court, they lost to eventual national champion Villanova 51-49 in 1985. Dayton has hosted 14 NIT games, going 10-4.

DECKED OUT IN RED: The Flyers wore their red road uniforms for practice Tuesday, getting accustomed to the look. Technically, they'll be the visiting team Wednesday because Boise State was ranked ahead of them by the NCAA selection committee. Dayton got the last at-large bid.

STAND TALL: Boise State is accustomed to being at a height disadvantage but will have the taller starting lineup Wednesday. Dayton has no player taller than 6-foot-6, relying on its balance, quickness and determination to win games.

''We're a tough group, regardless of what people think or what they say,'' guard Jordan Sibert said.

OFF THE MARKS: Mountain West Player of the Year Derrick Marks is coming off one of his worst shooting games. The senior guard was 6 of 21 from the field, including 2 of 8 from beyond the arc, during a 71-66 overtime loss to Wyoming in the conference tournament.

''I've been fine,'' Marks said. ''It isn't all about me. We kind of forgot about the last game already.''

NCAA TOURNAMENT TIDBITS: Boise State is 0-6 all-time in the tournament. The Broncos also were sent to the First Four in 2013 and lost to La Salle 80-71. Dayton is 17-17 overall. The Flyers reached the Sweet 16 last season by beating Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford before losing to Florida. This is the first time since 2003-04 that the Flyers have reached the tournament in back-to-back seasons.


Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: