Dayton Flyers Preview
Wooden Legacy Classic
Date: THANKSGIVING NIGHT! Thursday, November 24th – 7:30 PM - Titan Gym – Fullerton, CA
2015-16 Record: 25-8 (14-4 Atlantic 10 Conference)
2016-17 Record: 2-1
Head Coach: Archie Miller (6th year)
Welcome to the Wooden Legacy Classic! Nebraska will be participating for the first time in this Thanksgiving holiday tournament. It begins on November 24th and will go through the 27th. All games will be shown on ESPN networks so make sure you or your neighbor has a decent sports package.
First up for Nebraska is the University of Dayton Fighting Flyers. Dayton has gone 2-1 on the season so far and have been on the cusp of the top 25.
Let’s start this out simply, Dayton is good. In fact, they are the first decent team the Huskers will be playing against this season. Coach Miller has turned the Flyers into a perennial Atlantic 10 power during his six year tenure with the team. They’ve made the NCAA tournament the last three years and made it all the way to the Elite Eight in 2014. Last seasons they claimed a share of the A-10 regular season championship with Virginia Commonwealth University.
So far this season they’ve beat Austin Peay and Alabama (it’s not football, SEC basketball...) in games they had little trouble in. Their lone loss came to #15 St. Mary’s in a 57-61 on Saturday night.
Four starters return from last year’s team to make them a preseason favorite in the A-10 and will most likely give the Husker problems on the court. They ended last year with a top 15 defense that gave even some of the best offensive teams trouble throughout the year. This year looks like it should be an extension of that and more with the offensive firepower that has improved.
First up is guard Charles Cook who is averaging 23 ppg and 7 rpg and is shooting 51% from the floor. Cook has already been noted across the country for his skills. He was the on the preseason first team A-10 pick and is on the Jerry West Award watch list. For Nebraska to have a chance in this game, they will need to clamp down on Cook.
Next to Charles is guard Scoochie Smith who is bringing in 15 ppg, 4.3 apg and is shooting 53%. He’s also a key component to their stellar defense by contributing 2.7 steals per game.
Sam Miller has picked up some of the slack at forward and is bringing in 8.3 ppg and 4.0 rpg. McVeigh and Jacobson will have to attack the basket hard when he is in their territory.
One threat that they will not have against the Huskers is Josh Cunningham who is out three months with a torn ligament in his ankle sustained against the win against Alabama. He is a transfer from Bradley that would have created problems for Nebraska. I hate to say I’m glad a player is out due to injury but having him not on the court will help the Huskers.
If Nebraska want to keep this game interesting they will need to turn up their offense and get more production from the bench. The Husker cannot rely solely on Tai Webster, Jack McVeigh, and Ed Morrow to keep them in this game. The defense should keep them alive but it will take an uptick in the offense to defeat the Flyers.
This will also be a good barometer game for how the team will respond to upper level talent that they will encounter against team like Creighton, Kansas, and Big Ten Teams like Indiana and Wisconsin. If the Huskers respond poorly to a team of their caliber it could be a long season ahead with need for adjustments coming from the bench. Hopefully, Miles has their heads in the contest and they can go into Friday’s game with the confidence to play whoever comes their way.