With the big game against Dayton tomorrow night, we decided to lob a few questions over to the guys at Blackburn Review. We also answered several questions concerning this year’s version of the Musketeers which you can read here.
In case you’re an idiot and can’t figure it out. Questions are in bold.
Tell us about this year’s version of the Dayton Flyers. We haven’t been able to watch much of the Flyers and will be going into Saturday’s game mostly in the dark as far as what to expect from Brian Gregory and company.
Well, if you’ve seen any Dayton game in the past five years you have pretty much seen what this year’s team has to offer. The biggest difference is the point-guard play, as Juwan Staten is a prayer finally answered at that position. All in all, it’s your usual Flyer squad. Very athletic wings, stiffs in the middle and subs that tend to play out of control at times. The team lacks a consistent perimeter presence and uses its edge on the boards to win games.
The biggest difference between this team and prior editions is the lack of transition scoring. In the past, Dayton prided itself with getting a board, quickly outletting the ball which allowed its athletes to fly down the floor on the advantage. The transition points are down this season, which comes as a surprise considering they now have the requisite weapon at the point to effectively run a fast break. Overall though, it’s basically the same Flyer team Xavier has seen since Gregory got to UD.
You tweeted this last night, “DAY home halftime scores this year: Sav St 37-34, MiamiO 33-29, CCSU 29-23, WestCar 27-27, nothing new tonight.” What would you attribute this to?
Well, I’ll hit you with another quote. This is from UD forward Christopher Wright when asked about Dayton’s lack of intensity during the loss at UMass: “We thought it was a gimme.” This is the attitude a senior player took into a conference road game. Shocking? Not really. This program has consistently looked like it goes through the motions against “lesser talent,” and this year it ended up biting them in the ass in a loss to East Tennessee State earlier in the season. UD also failed to put Savannah State away a few weeks earlier – which you would have thought served as an eye-opener. Nope. High-caliber teams take it to weak competition from the jump, Dayton historically has let these teams hang around for too long.
Dayton has two modus operandi. One, the Flyers will come out and take a sizeable lead in the first half before giving it away before halftime. Or two, UD will come out flat during the first four minutes of the second half and either gives up a lead it established in the first half or at the very least let a team off the hook, creating a close affair for the rest of the game. What to chalk it up to? I have no clue. Insufficient preparation, overconfidence, lack of aggression, no killer attitude – probably a combination of all of these things. Goddamnit, this team lacks the Eye of the Tiger.
May as well reciprocate your question of your most hated Xavier players. Don’t need a specific number, but who has really gotten under your skin over the years in a Xavier jersey?
Stanley Burrell is at the top of the list simply because of the way he shut down Brian Roberts and forever changed the way I remembered B-Rob. I disliked Josh Duncan solely because he used to serve up so many daggers in his career (one of those I don’t really like the guy, but I would love to have had him on my team kind of guys). David West for completely killing Keith Waleskowski certainly deserves a mention. And Chris Mack for marrying a hot MILF from Dayton. Honestly though, I’ve never hated any X player. I respect them too damn much.
If Dayton has a chance to win on the last possession who do you want to take that final shot? Is there a clear cut go-to guy on the roster like Tu is for Xavier?
I can tell you right now the ball will be in Juwan Staten’s hands with the game on the line. He has consistently spearheaded the offense when there is a final shot scenario. It appears the strategy is to spread the floor, let Staten beat his man off the dribble with his quickness – creating a situation where one of the opposition’s defenders has to abandon his man to help out – and Staten looks to kick it to the open man. Hopefully the ball ends up in the hands of either Chris Johnson or Paul Williams, UD’s best perimeter shooters. The good news for X fans is that this particular play hasn’t worked at all this season. It usually ends up in a bad shot, a kicked ball out of bounds or a citizen’s arrest.
What is the overall feeling towards Brian Gregory amongst the Dayton fans? As an outsider and Dayton-hater it seems to me that his tenure should be coming under heavy scrutiny. Just not good enough results for a fan base that continues to be steadfastly loyal and underrated in terms of fan support on the national stage. (At least in my opinion)
The feedback has pretty much been established: Gregory is an above-average recruiter and a below-average coach. Honestly, I thought it would have been a good situation for both parties if Gregory moved on and took one of the opportunities he was allegedly offered at the close of last season. After a disappointing campaign with one of Dayton’s best teams in recent memory, it seemed that BG might have done all he could at a program like UD. Apparently Gregory doesn’t believe in striking while the iron is hot.
But, herein lies the rub. Gregory signed a Charlie Weis-ian contract extension a few years ago, which means he is basically untouchable until 2018. Dayton is not the type of school that’s going to fire a coach, while paying out a hefty buyout in the process, in order to bring in some new blood. So no matter what your feelings are about Brian Gregory, we are stuck with him until 2018.
What are the goals and expectations for Dayton entering conference play this season?
The goals and expectations must be to at least finish in the top four of the league, anything less than that will be a disappointment. Don’t take that as an indication that Dayton is loaded for bear and ready to make a run at the league title either. The A-10 just appears to be that soft this season. Clearly, Temple is the class of the league and will likely win the conference crown again this season (I’m already on record saying the Owls will go 16-0, and I can’t wait until they lose and I have to hear about it). After Temple is sort of a wide-open race. I think Xavier, Richmond, Dayton and even Duquesne will battle it out for a possible at-large bid.
Dayton needs to hold serve at home and eek out around three or four wins on the road. UD already has one at SLU and blew a chance against a fairly weak UMass team. Again, I’m not going to predict an NCAA Tournament appearance for the Flyers due to its lack of a RPI Top 50 win – UD has only played one team in the top fifty (Old Dominion, a 74-71 loss), Xavier will be the second – but I certainly expect them to somewhat be in the discussion come late February, early March. The goal, in my opinion, is to at the very least have an outside chance at the Dance before heading to Atlantic City. Anything short of that is going to be failure in my book.
What do Dayton fans make of this ridiculously long losing streak to Xavier in Cincinnati? It’s just out of hand right? A win has got to happen eventually doesn’t it?
Eventually it does, all things come to an end, right? I mean, humankind as we know will eventually end, so this streak surely has to have an end date – or one would hope. I would think even Xavier fans would want it to end just to make things interesting again (Although, I’m probably wrong about that). It is completely out of hand and quite embarrassing when you think about it. I’m not confident the streak comes to an end tomorrow, but I will make this prediction: Juwan Staten will win in Cincinnati before he graduates. So, but my estimation the Carter Curse gets snapped sometime in the next three years.
Prediction for Saturday night?
I have to play the odds and go with Xavier. The atmosphere down in Cincinnati seems to have a chokehold on the Flyers and I’m not sure how well Staten matches up with Holloway. That particular matchup could be the key to the game. If Holloway is able to bottle up Staten, this game could get ugly. As it is, I think it’ll be close throughout before Dayton fails to match Xavier bucket-for-bucket down the stretch. The streak continues, Xavier 63-57.
Thanks to the Blackburn Review for answering our questions and worst of luck to UD tomorrow night!