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So What Do We Know?
So What Do We Know?
Published by Swampy Meadows
So What Do We Know?

SANIBEL ISLAND (FL) -- It has been an interesting 4 1/2 months for the University of Dayton Flyers during the college hoops season and it ain't over yet. The week between the end of the regular season and the A-10 Funfest in Brooklyn is a good time to reflect on what we have witnessed and what we hope to see this weekend.

21-10 was probably on the high end for most pre-season prognosticators. One wrinkle that no one saw coming was that UD would win more conference games on the road (7) than they would at home (6), quite simply, because it had never happened before. 3rd Place in the A-10 and the double-bye that goes with it makes the path to possibly suiting up on Sunday that much more likely.

AG has had to deal with a short bench all season and the loss of Jhery Matos early on sure didn't help. The only good news to come from that misfortune is that Matos will get a medical redshirt and be back in Red and Blue for two more seasons. Trey missed one of the VCU games with a sprained shoulder but other than that and some cramping issues early on, the squad avoided the injury bug. The other variable that led to success this campaign was UD's ability to avoid foul trouble. The Flyers actually led the nation in the fewest number of PFs committed over their 31 game slate with 428. Yeah, it may have resulted in a few too many opposition layups but it also kept the player rotations intact.

Speaking of player rotations, the one that drew the most attention was at the 2 guard with the hot and cold Jordan Davis sharing time with defensive stalwart Dwayne Cohill. One eye-popping fact in Cohill's favor has been the +/- stats. Dwayne was an unbelievable +40 in the blowout victory over LaSalle. Posters on the UD Pride MB have been arguing about who should start, who should get the lions share of the minutes, etc. between Jordan and Dwayne for a while now. The thing to keep in mind is that their success is not mutually exclusive-- it's not either/or as to who plays well. Ideally they will both contribute meaningful minutes in Brooklyn.

Running down the roster, let's take a look at what we have seen from each of the 8 scholarship players:

Obi Toppin

Quite simply, he has been a revelation. I can't recall a freshman at UD having more of an impact and I was fortunate to see both Johnny Davis and Roosevelt Chapman in their first seasons. His high rev motor, the ability to shoot with either hand at a 67% FG rate, the fact that he is a willing passer-- heck I could go on forever. The attribute I admire most is his lack of attitude-- when Obi dunks he acts like he's been there before. That's probably because he has, more than anyone else in a Flyer uniform. Now is not the time to talk about how long he stays. Let's savor what we have and enjoy every minute of it.

Ryan Mikesell

"Chip" has made steady progress throughout the season to the point now where he is vital to the Flyers' success. One of the announcers on NBC Sports Network is fond of saying that Mikesell isn't great at any one thing on the court, but there is nothing that he can't do well. I'm most impressed by his ability to block shots. His coolheaded nature under pressure reminds me of Jimmy Paxson.

Josh Cunningham

The big fella has had his ups and downs, but when he is on his game JC is a dependable on the blocks scorer, ranking #9 nationally in FG %.. To my eyes, UD is most effective when Josh and Obi are down low and they can either score themselves or kick the ball out for open shots. The fact that Cunningham seems to have fixed his free throw shooting form over the last five games should bode well for the Flyers in Brooklyn.

Jalen Crutcher

At first the comparisons to Scoochie Smith seemed a little far fetched, but now as he approaches the end of his sophomore season they are fully warranted. Jalen can occasionally play out of control and his defense can at times be lacking but when he is on his game, Crutcher is probably the premier PG in the A-10 right now. He needs to shoot the three with confidence and start the end of the half/end of regulation final possessions with more than 5 seconds on the clock.

Jordan Davis

Flyer fans have suffered along with Davis as he has struggled to find his shot on a consistent basis. He nailed a couple of huge threes at the end of the Dukes game and let's hope that positive mindset carries over to the A-10 Tourney. One under appreciated part of Jordan's game is his defense. If I am AG, I keep Davis in the starting lineup in Brooklyn.

Trey Landers

Thanks to Tom Archdeacon at The DDN, one thing we all learned about Trey is the tragic death of his father:


Trey plays with a chip on his shoulder and after reading that, you can't really question why. Landers seems to have finally recovered from his shoulder injury and his defense, rebounding, hustle and positivity are key to Dayton's results.

Dwayne Cohill

A 2,000 point scorer in HS, Cohill is being asked by AG to provide defensive intensity and good things seem to happen while he is on the floor, as his aforementioned +/- stats testify. His minutes seem be growing as he adapts to the college game. One thing Dwayne needs to drop is complaining to the officials-- it's not a good look.

Frankie Policelli

With the possibility of playing three games in three days, Frankie is going to be asked to provide valuable minutes to give the other guys a blow. With 31 games under his belt, Frankie is not a freshman any more. Make Ms. Angie proud, dude.

What else have we learned?

-- That SID Doug Hauschild is really good at what he does. I normally attend the UD/Duquesne road game in Pittsburgh, but this year Mrs. Swampy and I are sitting on the beach in Florida. Doug actually emailed me to ask if I needed a press pass for Saturday's tilt. He didn't have to do that-- but he did.

-- That Anthony Grant is the right guy for the job. We still have basketball left to play this season and I'm not one to say "wait until next year"...but wait until next year!

-- That UD fans are fortunate to have David Jablonski as the beat writer at The DDN for Flyer hoops. The term "beat writer" doesn't do all that David does justice. "Multimedia Content Provider" is more like it. When Obi Toppin dunks and points, he is doing so in Jablonski's direction, because he knows and we know that David will be there to record the highlights.

-- Dayton fans are also lucky to have a wordsmith like Tom Archdeacon following the Flyers. The aforementioned piece on Trey Landers is but one example. When I came down for the SLU tilt I got to watch Arch in action. After the game I said hello to Arch in the press room. Tom was over by the table where the press guides and season-long boxscores are on display and he was searching them for some obscure stat. We all got out our phones and turned on our recorders to hear Obi and Jalen, who were the two players selected to meet with the press postgame and the two of them were very comfortable taking turns busting each other's chops. Arch asked them questions as did other writers. The end result was this:


Not nearly as mind blowing as the Landers piece, but Arch wrote a carefully crafted profile of two guys who obviously like each other and have fun on the basketball court. Nobody does it better.

-- So what's gonna happen this weekend? Captain Optimism thinks the Sons of Anthony Grant will find a way to face VCU for the A-10 Championship on CBS come Selection Sunday afternoon.

You know what they say about a team never wanting to have to face the same opponent a third time after beating them twice.

That's it "From the Swamp."
You can email me at: swampy@udpride.com
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