The Dayton Flyers are putting together a great 2023-24 season as they sit atop the Atlantic 10. They currently sit 21st overall in the AP Poll and are winners in 14 of their last 15 games. They have won by double digits in 9 of those 14 games.
The Flyers seem to be cruising through the season even as we are deep into conference play. But, is this team a threat come March? Dayton is looking to make it to the big dance for the first time since 2017 when they were knocked out by Wichita State in the first round. The last time they got past the first round was nearly ten years ago in 2015. Is this team good enough to come up with a tournament birth?
Offense is the Name of the Game for Head Coach Anthony Grant and his Dayton squad
The metrics from the Kenpom suggest that they can. According to the rankings system, the Flyers are 25th overall with an offense that is 17th overall. The offense for Dayton is something to watch that can push them forward too as they have scored less than 60 just once all year and that was back in November against the Houston Cougars during feast week. At this point, every team in college basketball has looked different since that time.
Dayton is just .500 (3-3) against quad 1 teams this season like the Houston Cougars. However, they are unbeaten in quads 2-4 which does add to a healthy-looking resume. With February just beginning, there is time to up one’s game just enough to peak and get hot when the calendar hits March.
Of course, a big factor in whether or not they get to March Madness can depend upon the Atlantic-10 tournament in Brooklyn. Thus far though, the Flyers have stuck it to their A-10 counterparts being 7-1. Their most recent win was an 83-61 victory over George Washington.
— Dayton Basketball (@DaytonMBB) January 31, 2024
The one loss the Flyers have in conference play came against the Richmond Spiders who are getting warm with an undefeated A-10 record themselves. That night, Dayton shot 33% from the field and had 11 turnovers in what was an uncharacteristic offensive showing from them. The win over GWU was a turnaround that was the opposite as they shot 48% from the field and 50% from three. They scored 35+ points in each half of the game.
So where does offense like this come from? A good answer would be Daron Holmes II. He is on the Karl Malone power forward of the year watchlist and for good reason. He leads the Flyers in points and rebounds that lead to second-chance opportunities often.
The 2023-24 season has presented Holmes with a 19.4 points per game average that not only leads the Dayton team but also leads the A-10 and lands him in the top 40 among all active Division One college basketball players. His rebounding is up at 8 a game which is top 5 in the A-10.
He has greatly improved his long-range shot from a year ago too as his percentage is now up 39% and his field goal percentage this season is also impressive enough over 50%.
Holmes is not the only scorer the Flyers go to. They have four others (Nate Santos, Koby Brea, Kobe Elvis, and Javon Bennett) that average at least 9 points a game. Santos in particular had a good game against the Revolutionaries with 17 points on 60% from the field and he went 3 of 4 from three.
Santos and Holmes reflect how good the Flyers are from deep as they rank 6th in Division One hoops in team three-point shooting.
Dayton’s offense is electrifying and it has gotten them a top 25 AP ranking and a great-looking resume leading to a 17-3 record. Truthfully, only time will tell what they can do in March, but they have the pieces and scoring to match some of the top teams in the country.
The Flyers next game is Friday, February 2nd, at home in Ohio against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies as the two teams meet for their only matchup of the regular season. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. E.T. with the game televised on ESPN 2.