On Wednesday and Thursday, we will be breaking down all eight of the Sweet 16 matchups. Here is our look at No. 10 Stanford vs. No. 11 Dayton:
WHEN: Thursday, 7:15 p.m.
WHERE: FedEx Forum, Memphis (South Region)
MAJOR STORY LINES: Regardless of who ends up winning this game, there will be a double-digit seed playing for the right to go to the Final Four. What may be more interesting, however, is the effect that this run has had on the job status of both coaches. Johnny Dawkins was one of a handful of coaches that potentially had their job on the line in they missed the 2014 NCAA tournament. A run to the Elite 8 would not only save his job, it could result in Dawkins getting a raise. Archie Miller already got his. Getting a middle-of-the-pack Atlantic 10 team into the tournament was impressive enough, but the run to the Sweet 16 earned him a pay bump and a contract extension as he suddenly became a popular name in coaching circles.
KEY STATS: Despite their size, Stanford is not a great offensive rebounding team. Part of that is stylistic, as they just don’t put a priority on second chance points, but it also has to do with the fact that the Cardinal simply are not that good at defending in transition, ranking in the 37th percentile nationally in transition defense, according to Synergy. The Flyers aren’t exactly the second-coming of the Showtime Lakers, but they do get out and run, and they should have an advantage when they do.
KEY PLAYERS: Dyshawn Pierre and Devin Oliver. Stanford is going to have a decided size advantage over Dayton, particularly in the front court. If they can slow down Dwight Powell, who is Stanford’s best facilitator offensively despite being 6-foot-10, and Josh Huestis and take advantage of the matchup offensively, the Flyers will have a shot.
POINT SPREAD: It opened at Stanford (-2 or -2.5) and has moved to (-3).
THREE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1. Chasson Randle: The Stanford point guard that’s really a scoring guard will be the best player on the floor. More than anyone in this game, Randle is a guy that is capable of taking over offensively.
2. Turnovers: The Cardinal are generally pretty good at protecting the ball, but with Aaron Bright done for the season, Stanford can struggle with turnovers at times when they get pressed. It almost cost them the game against Kansas, and while Dayton isn’t exactly VCU, they have some athletes that they can roll out defensively.
3. Dayton’s shooters: The biggest strength for the Flyers offensively is their ability to shoot from the perimeter. They don’t have a ton of size inside, they’re not all that effective scoring around the rim and they can be turnover prone at times, but they shoot 37.6% from beyond the arc with Oliver and Pierre at 38.9% and 40.0% respectively. Powell and Huestis will have to get out to them.
CBT PREDICTION: No. 10 Stanford wins by 10