By: Daniel Massa – Sports Editor
Dayton’s men’s basketball team announced its nonconference schedule Thursday.
The schedule is highlighted by three matchups with schools from the Southeastern Conference. The Flyers will face Alabama at UD Arena on Nov. 17, the second game of the season, followed by a Dec. 9 trip to Vanderbilt. Fifth-year head coach Archie Miller’s squad will finish off the nonconference season with a Dec. 30 home game against Arkansas.
The Vanderbilt game is the Flyers’ only true road game of the nonconference slate, but that does not mean the schedule won’t be difficult, according to Miller.
“I think it’s the most challenging one, on paper at least, that we’ve had in our time here,” Miller said in a video accompanying the schedule announcement.
Vanderbilt figures to be the toughest of the three SEC matchups, not only because it is on the road in Nashville, Tenn., in the Commodores’ unique Memorial Gymnasium, but because Alabama and Arkansas are both going through some transitions.
The Crimson Tide will be under the direction of first-time NCAA head coach Avery Johnson, whose only previous coaching experience is in the NBA, most recently as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets in 2012.
Meanwhile, Arkansas, which will come to Dayton in a return game of the Flyers’ trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas, last season—a 69-55 Flyers’ defeat—must make up for the loss of four starters, either from graduation or early entry into the NBA Draft, from last year’s team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32.
Dayton’s Thanksgiving tournament however, might prove to be the toughest stretch of the nonconference schedule. The Flyers will travel to Orlando, Florida, to compete in the AdvoCare Invitational from Nov. 26-29. CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein has reported that the Flyers will meet Iowa in the first round, but nothing has been officially announced at this time. Other schools in the field include Notre Dame, Wichita State and Xavier, three programs that each reached at least the Sweet Sixteen last year. Alabama, Monmouth and USC round out the bracket.
“To be in Orlando with those type of teams, to me, this is going to be a ‘resume’ nonconference schedule, something that at the end of the season hopefully [will have] prepared us to compete and challenge in the Atlantic 10, which is obviously our main mission this season,” Miller said.
If the Flyers do not meet Xavier during the AdvoCare Invitational, they will face one in-state opponent, Miami University, Dec. 22. The opponent in the third game of the season, Nov. 21, is to be determined. The exhibition date and opponent prior to the season opener are also to be determined.
Below is Dayton’s current nonconference schedule:
Nov. 13 – Southeast Missouri
Nov. 17 – Alabama
Nov. 21 – TBD
Nov. 26, 27 and 29 – at AdvoCare Invitational
Dec. 5 – North Florida
Dec. 9 – at Vanderbilt
Dec. 12 – Chattanooga
Dec. 19 – Furman
Dec. 22 – Miami University
Dec. 30 – Arkansas