Sweet 16 Previews: No. 10 Stanford vs. No. 11 Dayton

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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:

RELATED: Sweet 16 Power Rankings | Top 16 Players | Eight Critical Individual Matchups

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.

SWEET 16 PREVIEWSWisconsin-Baylor | Florida-UCLA | Arizona-San Diego State

Iowa State-UConn | Michigan-Tennessee | Virginia-Michigan State | Louisville-Kentucky

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

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.