The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.
Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.
I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.
NOTE TO READERS: I want to salute the fans at some point in this series. Here’s my idea: Email me a photo of your favorite piece of UD memorabilia (firstname.lastname@example.org). It could be a ticket stub, a T-shirt, a poster, a newspaper page, a photo of you at a game, etc. And write a paragraph or two or more about the story behind it: where you got it, what it means to you, why it’s special, etc. Also tell me how long you’ve been a fan, how and why you started rooting for the Flyers. I will include the story and the text in a blog entry. The best photo and entry wins an 8×10 print of Vee Sanford’s shot against OSU or Jordan Sibert’s shot against Boise. Your choice.
No. 35: The season opener
Dayton has played an assortment of schools and states in its season opener in recent years. This year it’s Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13.
Since the 2001-02 opener, the following schools have visited UD Arena for the first game of the season: Alabama A&M, IPFW (that’s Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne, though everybody should know that after Jordan Sibert’s shot), Arkansas State, Western Illinois, Mount St. Mary’s, Creighton, Wofford, East Tennessee State, Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech, Eastern Kentucky, Pepperdine, Delaware State and Toledo.
If Dayton’s coaching staffs over the years have been throwing darts at a USA map to find opponents for their first game, they couldn’t have come up with a more random group. Those teams, including SEMO, come from 12 different states.
Here are some things to know about Southeast Missouri:
- Their coach has a great name for writers worried about inch counts in their copy. He’s Rick Ray. That’s a seven-letter name, which is two letters shorter than my last name or three short of Krzyzewski.
- Ray coached for two years under former Wright State coach Brad Brownell at Clemson earlier in his career.
- There’s another Wright State connection on Ray’s staff. Chris Moore left the Raiders after last season, his fifth under Billy Donlon, to coach under Ray.
- SEMO and UD both have graduates from the Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut on their rosters. UD’s Scoochie Smith and SEMO’s Joel Angus III are both juniors.
- The Redhawks finished 14-17 last season. They lost 65-61 at Missouri and played Arkansas almost as close as Dayton, losing 84-67. The team returns two of its top four scorers: Antonious Cleveland (10.8) and Isiah Jones (9.8).
- SEMO’s non-conference schedule was a lot like Dayton’s last season. Like the Flyers, they also played Bowling Green, Alabama A&M and Mississippi.
- The Redhawks ranked 297th in the RPI last season. They ranked as low as 339 in 2008-09 and have not topped 200 since they were 186 in 2000-01. Their banner year came in 1999-00 when they were 24-7 and ranked 54th in the RPI. That’s the only time in the last 24 seasons they’ve ranked higher than 100.
- Dayton is 55-13 against the Ohio Valley Conference in its history. Most of those games have been played against Eastern Kentucky. UD leads that series 33-9.
- The Redhawks were the Indians until 2005 when they officially retired that nickname and switched to Redhawks.