Greetings from San Juan, Puerto Rico


A view from my hotel room of the Condado Plaza Hilton across the water. That’s where the Flyers and many of their fans are staying this week in San Juan.

Today I escaped the clutches of the deep freeze in Ohio, fleeing a good time with my brand-new snowblower to cover the Flyers in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan photo gallery). In a few short hours and two quick flights, I gained almost 80 degrees in temperature.

It’s probably good I left today instead of yesterday. My wife would have hated me even more if I left her on the day of the first significant snowfall of the new winter. After 30 minutes behind that snowblower, I appreciate the weather here all the more.

I believe the Flyers are in the air as I write this on their way here. They were supposed to leave around 4 p.m., but I just saw a tweet from WHIO’s Larry Hansgen that they were being delayed by a mechanical issue.

I flew down earlier via Charlotte. There were at least 10 other UD fans on the plane, just a small portion of the more than 500 expected to make the trip here for the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. In fact, I sat right next to a Flyer fan from Kettering who enjoyed reading Doug Hauschild’s UD game notes as I worked on my preview stories.

The College of Charleston team, which plays Connecticut in the first round Thursday, was also on our plane. Not every team can afford to charter a flight to away games like Dayton does for every game.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my stories that runs tomorrow:

Dayton coach Archie Miller should put this Devon Scott quote on a T-shirt or write it on permanent marker on his players’ luggage this week.

When asked Friday if he was looking forward to going to Puerto Rico this week, the junior forward Scott said, “I’m not looking at it as a vacation.”=

That’s just the attitude Dayton’s coaches want their players to have. To excel at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, which begins Thursday for the Flyers with a 10:30 a.m. game against Texas A&M at Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, the Flyers will need to focus on basketball and not fun in the sun.

Dayton did that last season, winning two of three games at the Maui Invitational. It has played in six in-season tournaments since 2003 and won three of them. In the past three seasons, Miller’s teams are 7-2 in Maui, the Charleston (S.C.) Classic and the Old Spice Classic (Fla.)

Dayton boasts a 13-5 all-time record against the seven other teams in Puerto Rico.

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