The Dayton Flyers get to play at home in their First Four game against the Boise State Broncos on Wednesday evening. It sure would be a bad time for their 21-game winning streak – the seventh longest in Division I – to come to an end.
After two relative upsets in Tuesday night’s “First Four” games with Hampton beating Manhatten and Ole Miss coming back to beat BYU in a high-scoring and entertaining matchup. Dayton will be hoping to reverse that trend against a Boise State team, that had an identical record during the season and has played some of its best basketball on the road.
This is match-up is between two small teams (Dayton doesn’t have a regular player taller than 6-foot-6) that play good basketball at both ends of the court. Both entered Selection Sunday hoping to squeeze into the field without having to take part in the tournament’s pre-event, and both have legitimate potential to upset the Providence Friars if they do make it into the Last 64.
While, the Flyers do not have a lot of height. Their foundation is in a front court led by athletic duo Kendall Pollard and Dyshawn Pierre. Pollard is averaging 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, while Pierre is posting a 12.7-8.2 line. Senior guard Jordan Sibert will carry the load offensively in the big moments. He averaged 16.5 points per game during the season, but had some difficulty establishing himself in game the A-10 tournament loss to VCU.
If there’s one team that can spoil what apparently looks like Dayton’s party. It’s the Broncos. They were 8-5 on the road this season and have been on the mission to end bad road runs. They secured their first away victories against New Mexico State and Utah State this season and also ended San Diego State’s 29-game home winning streak.
Boise State isn’t tall, but they’ll have a height advantage against Dayton in this game. James Webb III is the game’s “big-man” at 6-foot-8. He’s averaging 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game on the season. The loss of Anthony Drmic early in the season really hurt this season and it put even more pressure on senior guard Derrick Marks. He had a poor outing in the conference tournament game against Wyoming, but nevertheless it’s fair to say that Mark stepped up. He’s averaging 19.3 points per game and is the playmaker for this offense.
Betting Preview: Dayton(-4) v Boise State
Maybe we’re tempting fate by picking the favourite in the March Madness tournament. However, the Broncos will have a tough time against the Flyers and their lack of height makes them a reasonable matchup too. Dayton should benefit from home court advantage and do what they need to do to make it into the NCAA tournament “proper”.
The Pick: Dayton (-4) (www.betonline.ag)
Writer’s Record Against The Spread: 34-27