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Q & A with a Dayton Blogger

George Mason Basketball: Q & A with a Dayton Blogger

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Q & A with a Dayton Blogger

To prep for tonight's game I had a little exchange with the guys over at The Blackburn Review. You can read my answers to their interrogation here. Game is at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on MASN. Catch the free video stream here and there's another one here, if you don't have MASN.

Q: How high are expectations this season for the Flyers, especially after entering the year nationally ranked?

A: Well, coming into this season, it was Sweet 16 or bust, but 4 games into the year, and two losses in a row to Villanova and Kansas State later, panic beset most of the Flyer Faithful. The problem wasn't so much that we had lost two non-con games, the problem was that we had three chances to beat non-bcs teams, and we didn't capitalize on the chance. Dayton doesn't have another shot at a team that could be ranked other than maybe New Mexico (doubtful) and Xavier (not looking too hot themselves). For all intensive purposes, anything short of complete domination of the A-10 will result in Dayton being a bubble team this season. We're a bit down, but we certainly aren't out.

Q: Mason and Dayton are both balanced teams when it comes to offense but who in your mind is most valuable for the Flyers?

A: I don't know much about George Mason this season, other than the ten minutes of the Nova game I saw, but I wouldn't say Dayton is very balanced. We are on pace to set a team record in three point attempts, and unfortunately we aren't even making that many of them and our half court sets are lazy and lack any imagination. Two guys have carried us this season, Chris Johnson and much to my chagrin, Luke Fabrizius. Chris Johnson is a complete player in every sense of the word. Originally not a very heralded recruit, he turned into a monster on the boards and shown an ability to score both in the lane and from deep. He's showing a basketball IQ way beyond his years and will be a centerpiece for Dayton moving forward. Luke Fab, aka Pop-a-Shot, on the other hand has been an enigma. He is a shooter who can't play defense, is not much for rebounding, and distribution. Well, I thought I saw him pass once, but he might have just dribbled it off his foot. He was rightfully given credit for giving us a scoring boost against both Nova and Georgia Tech, but he's streaky and isn't a complete player. If he isn't making 3 points for every 2 he gives up, Dayton is in a lot of trouble.

Q: I remember last year Dayton was a very deep team, and looking at the game against Lehigh it appears 16 guys saw action? Am I reading that right?

A: Absolutely you are. Coach Brian Gregory would have tried to get himself into the game, but he only wears wingtips and they don't allow black soles on the court. Dayton believes in rapid substitutions, due to our intense style of man to man defense and only fresh legs can keep up the kind of pressure Gregory needs to win. Expect to see at least 10 or 11 different guys on the court against George Mason.

Q: What are this squad's strengths and weaknesses?

A: This year we brought back almost the exact same team we did last season, and expected to have almost the exact same results. Unfortunately that hasn't been the case. Our anemic half court offense from last season, has gone on life support. Often our offense consists of easy fast break points, or tossing up the first open three we see. If we're hitting our shots, we look fantastic, but the problem is, we rarely do. If it wasn't for some lucky breaks and playing Creighton when they had a few guys out injured, Dayton could easily be 3-4 right now. My blog mate Tommy Blackburn pointed out that Dayton was 11-1 in games decided by 5 points or less last season and are currently giving up 10 more points a game this season than we were last year. This season we aren't getting the breaks, and we aren't earning them either. In terms of strengths? As much as there is to complain about, there are a lot of teams that would wish to be 5-2. Dayton can play lights out for 10 minute stretches, don't be surprised to see Dayton and GMU exchange 12-0 runs. Just like last years game, what ever team scores the most in the last two minutes will win.

Q: How important is a guy like London Warren to this team? Does his name sometimes get lost with all the Wright and Johnson & Johnson highlights?

A: London, along with Marcus Johnson, is another senior that we expected the world from coming into this season, and as of now have not impressed. London last season was a lock down defender, who could drive the lane for a score every now and then, while also setting the tempo for the team. His freshman and sophomore season's were marred by untimely turnovers, often from his over exuberance in facilitating a fast break. While his turnover ratio has remained constant, opposing teams are using his complete and total lack of a jump shot to sag their defense. London has gone a few games almost completely uncovered. While on the fast break, he can make amazing passes, in the half court he is a liability, and his defense this season hasn't been amazing either. Just look at how Kansas State's back court demolished us.

Q: What will the Patriots have to do to win this game?

A: To win this game, the Patriots will have to slow the ball down. Dayton can only reliably score on the fast break, or within the first 7 seconds of a possession. After that they seem lost. If GMU can force Dayton playing the game one possession at a time, 58 points might win the game for them. That being said, and I know I've sounded very negative about Dayton so far this season, but we are still a very talented team, and our second best player Marcus Johnson hasn't woken up yet. I'm confident Dayton wins this game, but a young and athletic Patriots team is going to make us earn it.



Blogger variaban said...

Screw them, if GMU plays as a unit, we can beat these guys.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Josh Smith said...

What a horrible attempt at a blog. You should at least watch some Dayton games before attempting to provide analysis. I would not say panic has set in for Dayton - they lost to Villanova (Ranked #3) and a tough loss to Kansas State (who will be in the tourney and is almost in the top 25). On the other hand, they have already beat at least two tournament teams - Georgia Tech and Creighton.
As for the most valuable flyer, Chris Johnson is one of them, but you failed to mention the most talented player on the team - Chris Wright. When he plays well, we are tough to beat.
Lastly, you should have mentioned that Dayton has been without Rob Lowery (returned last game). Rob will probably take over as the starter in front of London and is a great court leader.

11:52 AM  
Blogger variaban said...

It's good enough that it has you commenting on it.
Besides, those 2 losses were enough to drop Dayton out of the rankings regardless of who their other 5 wins were against.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Josh, next time you should stop and read the introductory paragraph...the answers are from Dayton bloggers. The questions are from Ryan. Really?!?

11:47 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

hahaha Josh just made himself look like a FOOL

1:12 AM  
Blogger variaban said...

Last night stung but at least we know Sherrod can ball right there with Luke when he has enough minutes to make a difference... I think the guy made all his free throws last night. Makes me feel better about the next few years, haha.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to hope these one, two and three point losses don't become a habit but you know, if you want to find something positive from last nite's game, how about this: Opponent scores 21 points while you get 3...and yet you end up with a shot at winning the game, lose by a point and beat the 3.5+ spread.

9:41 AM  
Blogger C Hirsch said...

Didn't see the game but amazed we held Wright to 2 points.

10:18 AM  

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