Syracuse and Dayton will meet in Buffalo in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Here is a look at the game:
LITTLE BROTHER WINS: Only a 75-mile stretch of I-70 separates Ohio State and Dayton, but the Flyers have long lived under the shadow of their rivals. After all, Dayton plays in Atlantic 10, a group of mid-majors, while Ohio State comes from the Big 10, a BCS powerhouse. Dayton has only reached one Final Four (1967), while the Buckeyes have played in 10 (most recently, as Syracuse fans know, in 2012). Most of the time, Ohio State has ignored their little brother, having played the Flyers just nine times (holding a 6-3 record) up until Thursday. But Dayton emerged from its older brother’s shadow in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in the “Battle of Ohio.” Vee Sanford’s runner over Aaron Craft with 3.8 seconds left elevated 11th-seeded Dayton to a 60-59 upset of sixth-seeded Ohio State. Now, Dayton has bragging rights going forward, and perhaps can shun the “little brother” tag.
SCOUTING THE FLYERS: Dayton’s NCAA hopes seemed bleak at the start of conference play when Dayton slumped to a 1-5 start. But the Flyers had a strong close to the season, winning 10 of its last 12, with wins over fellow NCAA teams Massachusetts, George Washington and St. Louis. They got there with the help of junior guard Jordan Sibert, who leads the team in scoring at 12.5 ppg. Sibert certainly relished Dayton’s win considering he started his career at Ohio State before transferring to the Flyers in search of more playing time. Power forward Devin Oliver is second on the team in scoring at 12.1 ppg and leads the team in rebounding at 7.5 rpg. The Flyers play a deliberate and efficient style of basketball, a formula that has worked against Syracuse this season. KemPom ranks Dayton at 241st in average offensive possession length while its adjusted offense ranks 32nd in the NCAA at 113.3.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: These two teams have only met each other twice in school history, with the teams splitting the two games. The last time Syracuse played Dayton was on November 28, 1977 with the Flyers winning 76-67.
GAME INFORMATION: Saturday, March 22 at 7 p.m. at First Niagara Center in Buffalo. TV: TBS.