When you look at Dayton you can see many similarities that will have you thinking you are watching an Ohio State game. Dayton’s head coach is a former Ohio State assistant in Archie Miller. The leading scorer is Jordan Sibert who is an Ohio State transfer. Even Kevin Kuwik, who was an assistant at Ohio State, is an assistant at Dayton. They are coming off a strong 23 win season with their most recent game being a loss to eventual Atlantic 10 Champion Saint Josephs.
This Ohio State team pales in comparison to its representatives in recent tournaments in that they do not have the scoring punch or inside presence that recent teams have had. They do have a senior leader in point guard Aaron Kraft who is arguably the best on ball defender in college basketball. Late season losses to Penn State and a weak Indiana team were very discouraging. They then had wins in the Big 10 versus Purdue and Nebraska and then fought Michigan tough in a 3 point loss.
Dayton is on one of the hottest teams in the country winning 10 of their last 12 games and are one of the few high scoring teams that also shine on the defensive side of the ball. They average over 73 points per game while shooting nearly 47 percent. On defense they allow a rather high 67 points per game however they hold opposing teams to less than 44 percent from the floor. They feature 3 players that score in double figures per game in Jordan Sibert at 12.5, Devin Oliver at 12.1 and Dyshawn Pierre at 11.1. They also have one more scorer in Vee Sanford who averages 9.9 points per game. Their biggest weakness is their lack of a dominant rebounder who can control the boards late in the game.
Ohio State lacks the offensive power to get into any kind of a running game with Dayton or any other team. Any success they have in the tournament will be based on their defense. Kraft anchors a defense that allows under 59 points per game and hold opponents to a 40% field goal percentage. The offensive end will rely heavily on Laquinton Ross who averages over 15 points per game and slightly over 6 rebounds. They will likely have the ball in the hands of Kraft looking to find Ross in all critical situations.
If it’s a close game then Ohio State has a severe advantage. They are the vastly superior defensive team and will be able to grind out both defensive stops and long possessions. They also have the tournament experience of Kraft and the scoring ability of Ross. However if Dayton gets the game going at their pace and is able to gain a lead it will be awfully tough for Ohio State to come back. It may come down to which team gets hot from the 3 point line.
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