Dayton Flyers open Battle 4 Atlantis vs. Wisconsin on Wednesday

A year ago, Dayton’s championship at the ESPN Events Invitational would have paved the way for an at-large bid had it not been for three disastrous early-season losses. The Flyers are hoping the experience gained from winning three games in four days will help them win three games in three days this week.

“We can show that we’re capable of beating anybody when we do our thing and really focus on ourselves and not really worry about who we’re playing against,” Dayton forward Toumani Camara said Tuesday at a news conference before Dayton’s opener. practice at the Imperial Arena.

“If we continue to take things one game at a time,” forward DaRon Holmes II said, “and just listen to what we’re supposed to do and execute it, I think we’ll be perfectly fine. This team is capable of a lot and I feel like we can do it again.”

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Dayton will play No. 3 Kansas (4-0) or North Carolina State (4-0) on Thursday. Dayton will play Thursday at 11 am if it beats Wisconsin and at 4 pm if it loses.

Dayton did not head into the tournament with a full roster. Coach Anthony Grant said Tuesday that guard Koby Brea did not travel with the team because he is still dealing with a viral infection. Brea returned to action in Dayton’s 60-52 loss to UNLV on November 15, but sat on the bench due to illness Saturday during a 60-51 win against Robert Morris.

Dayton’s opponent, Wisconsin, went 25-8 last season and won its November tournament, the Maui Invitational, which was played in Las Vegas, Nevada, due to the pandemic. He lost his two leading scorers that season: Johnny Davis (19.7 points per game), who was selected 10th overall by the Washington Wizards after being named Big Ten Player of the Year; and Brad Davison (14.1), who scored 1,827 points in five seasons.

Three starters returned: fourth-year forward Tyler Wahl; junior center Steven Crowl; and sophomore point guard Chucky Hepburn. Those three are averaging 35.7 points between them in three games. The fourth double-digit scorer, Jordan Davis (10.0), averaged 1.3 points in limited action last season.

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Wisconsin has shot well from 3-point range in three games (38.5%), while Dayton (29.5%) hasn’t. The national average is 33.2.

Wisconsin also leads the nation in 3-point field goal defense percentage (11.1). South Dakota, Stanford and Green Bay combined to make 5-for-45 3-pointers against the Badgers.

Wisconsin has played in a November tournament 15 times in the past 17 seasons and is 26-12 with five championships.

In Dayton’s Nov. 15 finals, he’s 32-15 with four championships. The Flyers won the ESPN Events Invitational in Florida last season by beating Miami, Kansas and Belmont.

This will be Dayton’s second game with Malachi Smith back in the starting lineup. He missed the first three games with an ankle injury and had five points and three assists against Robert Morris in 21 minutes.

“I think (having Smith back) will help us a lot,” Camara said. “Everyone has an important role in this team. Everyone can impact the game differently. Since the season began, we haven’t been able to play twice with the same team, and each time the squad has been different”.


Dayton vs. Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2, 1290, 95.7

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