Having reached the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons, Archie Miller’s Dayton Flyers will not only be expected to do so for a third consecutive year but they’ll also be one of the favorites in strengthened Atlantic 10. Thursday the program released its non-conference schedule for the 2015-16 season, and the Flyers could face as many as six NCAA tournament teams before the start of Atlantic 10 play.
The most noteworthy matchup is their game at Vanderbilt December 9, with the Commodores boasting a team that’s expected to be among the best in the SEC. There’s also an appearance at the AdvoCare Invitational, where it was reported earlier this week that they’ll open against Iowa in the lone quarterfinal matchup of teams that reached the NCAA tournament a season ago.
Also in that field are Notre Dame, Wichita State, Xavier, Monmouth, USC and Alabama, with games being played November 26, 27 and 29 in Orlando.
Dayton opens up its regular season with games against Southeast Missouri (November 13) and Alabama (November 17), and they could face the Crimson Tide twice this season depending upon how the AdvoCare Invitational bracket shakes out (they’re on opposite sides of that bracket). Dayton also has a game against an opponent yet to be determined November 21.
While the Flyers did lose guard Jordan Sibert from last season’s team, contributors such as Scoochie Smith, Dyshawn Pierre and Kendall Pollard all return and they’ll add both size and depth as well. The dismissal of their two biggest players mid-season led to Dayton playing a seven-man rotation in which none of the players were taller than 6-foot-6.
That won’t be an issue in 2015-16, as Dayton adds Steve McElvene (sat out for academic reasons last season) and freshman Sam Miller to the program. In total the Flyers welcome four freshmen, with Bradley transfer Josh Cunningham having to sit out the 2015-16 season per NCAA transfer rules.