Will Dayton Make The 2013 NCAA Tournament From The A-10?
With the additions of Butler and VCU to the conference and savvy returning talents to Saint Louis, St. Joe's, UMass and Temple, the top of the of A-10 appears to be a crowded mess. But there is still room for Dayton in competition for one of the 2013 NCAA's 68 Tournament bids.
Under first-year head coach, Archie Miller, the Flyers achieved a postseason bid (NIT) and 20+ wins for the fifth consecutive season. Miller loses Chris Johnson, a 1,400 point scorer with 800 career rebounds, but brings back second-team All-A-10 point guard, Kevin Dillard (13 points, 6 assists) and starting forwards Matt Kavanaugh (9 points, 6 rebounds) and Josh Benson (11 points, 6 rebounds). Benson suffered a season-ending knee injury just before the New Year and was replaced in the lineup by Devin Oliver, who averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds after that point. Benson is now healthy giving Dayton plenty of front-court talent and depth.
But the biggest reasoning to think Dayton could back to the NCAA Tournament in 2012-13 is the coup of newcomers. Two transfers, Vee Sanford (Georgetown) and Matt Derenbecker (LSU) will become eligible after sitting out last season. Freshman Dyshawn Pierre highlights the four incoming freshmen as an explosively athletic 6'6" forward. He can play either frontcourt spot, taking opponents off the dribble on the perimeter or banging down low. He averaged 13 points and 7 rebounds for the Canadian U-19 national team.
Expect there to be quite a few teams within the top reaches of the Atlantic 10 standings this season with Dayton as a darkhorse candidate to rise in the ranks if the chemistry is right.