Dayton (20-11) vs. Xavier (19-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 9, 9:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Boardwalk Hall (10,500) -- Atlantic City, New Jersey. Television: CBSSN-Regional. Home Record: Dayton 14-4, Xavier 13-3. Away Record: Dayton 3-7, Xavier 5-7. Neutral Record: Dayton 3-0, Xavier 1-1. Conference Record: Dayton 9-7, Xavier 10-6. Series Record: Dayton leads, 84-73.
GAME NOTES: Winners of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament a total of four times previously, the Xavier Musketeers finally hit the floor in the 36th annual edition of the event as they clash with the Dayton Flyers in the quarterfinals at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The third seed in this year's event, the Musketeers haven't been back to the title game since defeating Saint Joseph's in 2006. The team struggled with consistency over the last month or so, alternating wins and losses through nine games, but they are again on the verge or registering a 20-win season for the seventh straight year and the 15th in the last 16 seasons.
As for the sixth-seeded Flyers, this is their second game of the tournament after defeating George Washington on Tuesday night in a 67-50 final. With that victory Dayton is now 20-15 in the event all-time, winning the championship back in 2003 with a 79-72 triumph over Temple. Dayton did appear in the title game last season but lost to Richmond, 67-54.
Dayton has won just three of 10 true road games this season, but on a more positive note, the team is a perfect 3-0 in neutral-site affairs.
The Flyers own an 84-73 lead in the all-time series, although the teams split the regular-season series with each winning at home. The squads have clashed a total of six times in this event over the years as well, with the Musketeers winning five of those battles, although it was Dayton that posted a 68-67 win in the tourney a year ago.
The winner of this meeting will be back in action on Saturday afternoon against the survivor of the La Salle/Saint Louis contest in the semifinals.
The defense came out strong for the Flyers in their first tournament game three nights ago, holding George Washington to just 34.5 percent from the floor, including 3-of-14 behind the three-point line, while forcing 15 turnovers. At the offensive end, Devin Oliver took control with 19 points and eight rebounds, followed by Kevin Dillard with 13 points and eight assists, while Paul Williams and Josh Parker accounted for 10 points apiece for a team that shot 5.1 2 percent from the floor in order to offset 17 turnovers. Chris Johnson, who was limited to just nine points and seven rebounds in the tournament opener, is still the leading scorer in conference games for the program with his 13.6 ppg and is also tops on the glass with almost seven rebounds per game as well. Dillard (13.1 ppg) may be just a 38.1 percent shooter from the floor, but his 71 assists account for a huge chunk of the unit's 169 dishes so he needs to be on the floor as much as possible.
Leading the Musketeers in scoring this season is Tu Holloway with 16.7 ppg, an average that has him fifth in the Atlantic 10 as well. An A-10 First Team selection this season, Holloway is the only league player in the top five in both scoring and assists, handing out close to five and a half per contest. Holloway has handed out at least 100 assists and led the team in that department in three straight years, his 535 career assists ranking him third on the program's all-time list. Two of the players who have benefited from Holloway's passes are Mark Lyons and Dezmine Wells who have been named to the A-10 Third Team and A-10 All-Rookie Team, respectively. Lyons is second in scoring with 15.7 ppg and Wells follows with 10.1 ppg and is also a major force on the glass with better than five rebounds per contest.
The Musketeers haven't played up to their potential of late, but you have to assume they'll perk up for this meeting against a familiar foe with so much on the line.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 72, Dayton 65
03/09 10:33:33 ET