When the NCAA tournament tipped off last week, you would have been hard pressed to find many pundits who had Dayton and Stanford facing off in the Sweet 16. However, the two double digit seeds used multiple upsets to play their way into the second weekend.
Dayton outlasted Ohio State and Syracuse in games that came down to the last shot. The Flyers defense has held their NCAA tournament opponents to 56 points per game, but Stanford might have better options on the offensive end of the court.
The Cardinal have quite a bit of size up front, but it will be the shooting from the perimeter that could make the difference. Chasson Randle shoots over 39 percent from three point range, and he’ll need to have the range from distance on Thursday. As a team, Stanford shoots 37 percent from beyond the arc.
Dayton shoots slightly better from distance at 37.5 percent. Their ball movement will be a factor in the type of shots the Flyers get on the perimeter. Dyshawn Pierre needs to make plays for Dayton to be successful. Pierre doesn’t take a lot of three’s, but he hits 40 percent of his shots from deep.
Stanford doesn’t go too deep into their bench, so it will be important to get an early lead against Dayton. They’ve been the aggressor in the first two games, and it helped them secure sizable leads to avoid crunch time collapses.
Besides shooting, rebounding will be the biggest factor. If Dayton can hold their own on the boards, Stanford’s size advantage will be mitigated. Dwight Powell must be a force for the Cardinal. Any type of foul trouble will limit his effectiveness on both ends. Powell is capable of snatching a double-double with more minutes.
Devin Oliver will likely match up with Powell on the court. Although he is shorter, Oliver has plenty of ability to get Powell off of his game.
If prior games have been any indication of what’s going to happen, foul shooting down the stretch will be extremely important. Dayton shoots 68 percent from the foul line, while Stanford hits 70 percent from the charity stripe.
However, the right people have to take foul shots in the final minutes of the game. They also have to capitalize on the opportunities.
It’s hard to see the game getting into a frenzied pace, but both teams will need flow. Hopefully one of the teams don’t come into the game with the “just happy to be here” mentality. In these scenarios, that’s usually not the case.
This will come down to the medium game from Dayton and the inside game from Stanford. If Stanford can swallow up the paint and control Dayton off the dribble, they’ll be in good position to win. We know that Dayton is great at defending the last second shot, so it will come down to a battle of wills.
Stanford 65- Dayton 62
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