In a rare mid-day, mid-week game, the Alabama Crimson Tide hosts the Dayton Flyers Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. CT in the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon. The Flyers destroyed the Tide 80-48 last season in coach Avery Johnson's second game at the Capstone. Dayton defeated Austin Peay 96-68 on Friday, while the Tide opened with a 70-53 victory over Coastal Carolina. Dayton is 13-3 over their last 16 games vs SEC opponents, including four in a row. Last year, UD went 4-1 against power five schools, beating Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Iowa.
Coach Archie Miller's squad was led by a career high 31 points from senior Charles Cooke on Friday, hitting 11-17 from the field. Junior Darrell Davis added 17 points while sophomore Josh Cunningham added 13. Scoochie Smith, who had a fantastic game against Bama last year, scored 11 points with five rebounds and six assists.
In 'Bama's season opener, graduate transfer Corban Collins lead the victory with 15 points, and was joined in double figures by junior Riley Norris with 14 and R-Fr Dazon Ingram with 11 points at five assists. Johnson utilized 12 players, with nine playing at least 12 minutes apiece. The new found depth will be a big plus for the Tide this season, after several years of a very short bench.
Dayton is a guard oriented team with out a ton of size, but do have good length. Their probable starters will be 6'0' senior guard Kyle Davis, Cooke a 6'5" guard, Smith a 6'2" guard and two 6'7 forwards, Josh Cunningham and Ryan Miskesell. Darrell Davis is a 6'5" junior guard and Sam Miller a 6'9" forward should be first off the bench. 6"4" guard Trey Landers and 6'8" forward Xeyrius Williams are the other bench players that should see action.
The Tide started Ingram, Collins, Norris, Shannon Hale and Jimmie Taylor in the opener, with grad transfer Bola Olaniyan replacing Hale in starting the second half. Johnson seemed to like that change, and possibly could use that lineup to start the Dayton game. Freshman Braxton Key tied for the second most minutes played in the opener, and look for him to play major minutes going forward. Donta Hall will sub in as an inside player to block shots and grab rebounds. JUCO transfer Ar'Mond Davis was brought in to be a long range, three point shooter. Transfers Nick King and Avery Johnson, Jr. will also contribute, although each played only four minutes apiece in the opener.
Dayton is a sharp shooting, athletic team that likes to run, and has significant big-game experience. The Flyers have become a perennial NCAA tournament team and by all rights should win this game, but let's go full Gump and give the Tide the cover and the outright victory, say in the 80-75 range. Hopefully, the early tip and lack of being able to actually park at the arena (UA wants patrons to park at the University Mall and shuttle to Coleman, since the lot is in use for school at the time of the game.) Maybe a ton of students will either skip class or be let out to try and give the Tide a home court advantage. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
Roll Tide and Buckle Up.