Cinderella meets Cinderella in a rare 11 seed versus 10 seed Sweet 16 matchup on Thursday in Memphis. The Dayton Flyers will take on the Stanford Cardinal in a matchup of two teams that most expected to lose in the first weekend of the tournament.
Dayton head coach Archie Miller has his Flyers playing inspired basketball and you can bet that with a ticket to the Elite Eight on the line, they will come out prepared and firing on all cylinders.
The Flyers finished in sixth place in the Atlantic 10 conference, a mid-major conference that many analysts believed to have been one of the best this year. The Atlantic 10 sent six teams to the NCAA tournament and this comes only a year after the conference lost their top three teams, Temple, Xavier and Butler.
Dayton is led by Jordan Sibert. The Ohio State transfer was impressive all season in averaging 12.4 ppg. He is complimented by Dyshawn Pierce who contributed 11.2 ppg and Devin Oliver who averages 11.9 ppg.
Stanford finished fourth in the Pac-12 this season. The Pac-12 sent six teams to the tournament, however they are one of the more overrated conferences in my opinion. Stanford is led by junior guard Chasson Randle, who averages 18.7 ppg for the Cardinal. Randle is helped out by senior forward Dwight Powell’s 13.9 ppg and 6.8 rpg.
How they both got here:
Dayton came into the tournament as the eleven seed in the south region of the bracket. The Flyers upset sixth seeded Aaron Craft and Ohio State as well as third seeded Syracuse.
Stanford upset seventh seeded New Mexico and second seeded Kansas.
What will happen:
Dayton’s upsets came against two teams that were playing significantly below their ability and had struggled for parts of the season. Ohio State was able to finish strong whereas Syracuse seemed to be a completely different team towards the final third of the season.
Stanford’s upset of Kansas is not as impressive at looks on paper. That is a Kansas Jayhawk basketball team that lost 10 games this season. Most 10-loss teams do not earn two seeds in the NCAA tournament. That Kansas team also had to play without star center Joel Embiid. The Jayhawks are a much different and much more skilled team when Embiid is healthy.
I think that Dayton will beat Stanford but the game will be entertaining. This Dayton basketball team is one of the most under-seeded teams in the tournament. I am a big subscriber to Atlantic 10 basketball and I feel that any team that survived the conference with a winning conference record is a step ahead of most NCAA basketball teams.
I predict that Dayton will win by double digits and will march to a program-building monumental Elite Eight.
The game will air on CBS at 7:15 pm on Thursday, March 27.