It is one of the best versus one of the worst in the Atlantic 10 on Friday as the Rhode Island Rams (13-14, 6-9 in the Atlantic 10) travel to the UD Arena to take on the Dayton Flyers (19-9, 11-4 in the Atlantic 10). This is actually a rematch as the two teams squared off back on February 9, with Dayton blowing out Rhode Island 77-48, despite playing on the road. In that game, Jalen Crutcher led the way with 20 points for Dayton. For Rhode Island, Cyril Langevine was the leading stat getter with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Tipoff for the rematch is on Friday at 7:00 pm ET.
Coming into this one, Rhode Island had lost five straight until they snapped the streak with an 80-53 win over GW. Still, currently sitting in 9th in the Atlantic 10, it would be a high note on an otherwise frustrating season if they could upset Dayton on the road. For Dayton, they have won four of their last five, with their lone loss being a 69-68 defeat against VCU. In their last outing, they beat UMass 72-48 on Tuesday.
In this contest, the Dayton Flyers come in as 8.5-point favorites playing at home. The over/under for this game is set at 135 points.
By The Numbers
Offensively, Dayton comes in as the better team. The Flyers currently rank 156th in the nation in scoring, averaging 73.6 points per game. Dayton currently ranks 75th in scoring margin, though, at +6.4. For Rhode Island, they come in at 298th in the country, scoring 67.7 points per game.
Defensively, both of these teams average well statistically. For Dayton, they come in at 56th in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 66.5 points per game. For Rhode Island, they come in at 68th, allowing 67.2 points per game. Part of that speaks to the quality of competition they play, but they also can hold their own on the defensive end pretty well. Rhode Island is especially tough in the interior, where they are averaging 4.1 blocked shots per game (good for 83rd overall).
Rhode Island Rams Looking For Payback
After being humiliated on their home floor, the Rams would love nothing more than to get their redemption against the Flyers on their court. Leading the way for the Flyers has been the trio of guards Jeff Dowtin and Fatts Russell and forward Cyril Langevine. For Dowtin, he has been averaging 15.1 points on 47.2% shooting. He is also averaging 3.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. For Russell, he is averaging 12.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Still, the most impressive player is likely Cyril Langevine. On the season, he is averaging a double-double with 14.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 54% from the field and is adding 1.5 blocks per game.
If Rhode Island has a hope of winning, though, they are going to need both Dowtin and Russell to play well around Langevine. The reason is just that the Rams don’t have a whole lot of scoring depth beyond these three. They only have one other player averaging even close to double-digits (Tyrese Martin at 8.5), but it falls off big time after that. In fact, David Cox’s squad only goes about 7 deep, with 5 averaging over 25 minutes a game and just 2 others even getting to double-digit minutes.
Flyers Looking To Continue Dominance At Home
This season Dayton has been really strong at home, going 12-3 overall. They would like to keep that trend going and add another victory onto their conference record Friday with a win over Rhode Island. Leading the way for the Flyers this season has been senior forward, Josh Cunningham. He is averaging 14.3 points on 64.5% shooting. He is also chipping in 6.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
Aside from Cunningham, the Flyers have had three other players averaging double-digit scoring. Obadiah Toppin (13.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists), Jalen Crutcher (13.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists) and Jordan Davis (10.3 points, 3 rebounds, 1.9 assists) have all had nice seasons. Rounding out the top scorers are Ryan Mikesell (9.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists) and Trey Landers (8.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2 assists).
Dayton Gets The Series Sweep
In my mind, this one isn’t about whether Dayton will win or not, it is about how much they will win by. Between how well Dayton has been playing lately and how the first matchup turned out, I am just not sold that Rhode Island will be able to keep up with Dayton for 40 minutes. While the Rhode Island defense is respectable, I am just not sure that their offense has the depth, especially when playing against a tough Dayton defense. For my money, I am taking Dayton in this one despite laying the 8.5 points.