The Dayton Flyers survived the First Four with a win over the Boise State Broncos by the narrowest of margins. They had to dig themselves out of a late hole just to survive – and that was at home. Can they win or cover on the college basketball betting lines in Round 2 against Providence?
The Dayton Flyers Can Win Because…
They will be playing this game very close to home. The Flyers will be playing this game in Columbus, Ohio and while it’s not direct home court advantage like it was against Boise State, it is close to home. This team will not be exhausted by any sort of commute it might make, so having played a game on Wednesday really won’t get in the way.
The strength of Dayton is its balance. The Flyers have five players averaging between 7.4 and 12.8 points per game, and then they have Jordan Siebert, who averages 16.5 points per game. They can attack a defense from many angles and can get the kind of shot they want when they need something to happen. They also have a coach, Archie Miller, who is one of the rising stars in the business. Miller led Dayton to the Elite Eight last season and should feel he can make some tournament magic next season.
Dayton is balanced, experienced, well-coached and heading into the second-round with some momentum. Those are all good reasons to take them in this spot, although odds makers have not posted any lines yet, so keep checking the NCAA Tournament odds.
The Providence Friars Can Win Because…
Their production with Kris Dunn in the backcourt is supplemented by the scoring of LaDontae Henton on the wing. Playing at the small forward spot, Henton averages just under 20 points and over six rebounds per game. Dayton will have a hard time matching up with Henton, and the Friars’ work ethic on defense – which almost upset Villanova in the Big East tournament semifinals – should be enough to clamp down on the Flyers’ ball movement and precise halfcourt sets.
Providence hasn’t proven to be an elite team this season but they’ve been pretty good. They head to the tournament with five wins in their last eight but all three losses were to Top 25 teams. As a matter of fact, Providence hasn’t lost to a non- NCAA Tournament odds qualifying team since January 3rd. Dayton is a step below, so Providence should feel comfortable.
Also, Dayton squeaked out a win at home – and I mean barely – in the First Four. They should have taken care of business with much more authority than that. The fact that the committee handed them a layup and they needed a miracle says a lot about their team. While they took care of Boise State, they won’t be able to do the same against Providence.
The reality of Dayton playing in state would help the Flyers, but it’s something Boise State would not be able to enjoy. Take Dayton over Providence with your NCAA tournament picks and let's hope they move forward to the second round and meet the winner of Albany vs. Oklahoma.
NCAA Tournament Pick: Dayton