Florida versus Dayton preview and prediction


The eleventh seeded Dayton Flyers are heading to the Elite Eight for a matchup with first ranked Florida on Saturday evening. Florida, winners of 29 straight games, is coming off of a 79-68 victory over UCLA. The Flyers defeated Stanford last night to earn their third ever trip to the Elite Eight and are in search of their first Final Four since 1967.

On Thursday night, Dayton got off to a fast start and defeated Stanford 82-72. The Flyers were led by Jordan Sibert who scored 18 points and Devin Oliver who contributed 12 points and seven rebounds.

Dayton looked good offensively and was able to hold off a Stanford team that surged in the second half and got within four points of Dayton before the Flyers were able to pull away and keep their Final Four hopes alive.

Florida defeated UCLA on Thursday night in what was another hard fought game by Billy Donovan’s Gators. UCLA was able to remain ahead of the Gators for the first eight minutes of the game but were unable to do much after that. This game looked fairly similar to Florida’s previous-round victory over the Panthers.

In both games Florida trailed for parts of the first half but was able to ride the hot shooting of guards Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II to gain a lead and stay ahead. Florida was once again stellar in the rebounding department and unselfish with the ball in recording 22 assists for the game.

How they got here:

Florida has not lost a basketball game since December 2. That is 29 straight basketball games that the Gators have won. This team has become quite comfortable with winning and looks poised to make a return trip to the Final Four. In addition to winning the SEC tournament, Florida defeated Albany, Pittsburgh and UCLA to earn a trip to their fourth consecutive Elite Eight.

Dayton finished the regular season in sixth place in the Atlantic Ten which was arguably one of the deepest conferences in the country this season. The conference sent an uncharacteristic six teams to the NCAA tournament, just a year after losing perennial tournament teams Butler, Xavier and Temple (none of the three made the tournament this year). The Flyers defeated in state rival Ohio State, three seed Syracuse and Pac 12 hopeful Syracuse.

What will happen:

As good as I think that they Atlantic 10 is this year I cannot see any possible scenario that would allow an upset this monumental. Florida is on a roll and shows no signs of slowing down. I think that Dayton’s fairytale run ends with this game with Florida. The Flyers simply do not have enough fire power to hang with Gators. Expect Florida to come out and win by double digits.

Also another prediction: this will be Archie Miller’s final game coaching at Dayton, as soon as his team is ousted from the tournament you can expect many programs with coaching vacancies to begin courting the brother of Arizona Sean Miller.

The game will air on TBS at 6:09 pm on Saturday.