Dayton (6-1) at Vanderbilt (6-2)
When: Wednesday, December 9th 2015
Where: Memorial Gym, Nashville, TN
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: ESPNU
The Dayton Flyers will continue their tough non-conference schedule when they play their first true road game of the season Wednesday night at Vanderbilt. Dayton is 6-2 since the beginning of last season against teams from Power 5 Conferences. The Flyers strength of schedule ranks 16th nationally and they already have four wins over RPI top-100 teams beating Monmouth, William & Mary, Iowa, and Alabama. Their lone loss this season came against in-state rival Xavier 90-61. Dayton bounced back with an 86-71 in over North Florida in which leading scorer Charles Cooke had 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. The 6’5″ guard is averaging 16 a game and 6.1 rebounds while only turning the ball over twice in the last two games covering 62 minutes. Fellow guard Scoochie Smith is averaging 12.7 points a game while hitting 50% of his three-pointers and was turnover-free in 33 minutes against North Florida. Dayton C Steve McElvene won Atlantic 10 rookie of the week honors after scoring 14 points with 16 rebounds and four blocked shots against the Osprey.
While Dayton’s offense comes from solid guard play, the Vanderbilt frontcourt is what runs this nationally ranked SEC team. They’re ranked 8th in the nation with 53 blocks led by Luke Kornet’s 22. All SEC first-teamer Damian Jones has averages 1.9 blocks per game after swatting away 70 shots last season. Vanderbilt has also played a tough non-conference schedule and have two losses to ranked teams. They committed 17 turnovers in a two-point loss at Baylor on Sunday. Their other defeat came in the Maui Invitational Championship to Kansas 70-63. Thanks to a strong frontcourt that intimidates many, they are ranked 3rd in the country in field-goal percentage defense at 34.6%. The offense has been a nice surprise this season averaging 83.4 points a game on 49.3% shooting. Junior guard Wade Baldwin IV is having a terrific start to the season and leads the Commodores in scoring with 15.0 a game. He’s also shooting 53.8% from beyond the arc. Vanderbilt will have one more tough game after tonight when they visit Purdue on December 22nd before heading into SEC play.
This line is a little too high for me. Dayton can light it up with their guards and have a pretty good track record against Power 5 Conferences. I’ll take the points.
Pick: Dayton +9