Grant: Dayton Flyers schedule ‘realistic for the team we have’

Non-conference schedule called challenging by new UD coach

A day after National Vanilla Ice Cream Day — yes, that’s a thing — fans of Dayton Flyers men’s basketball celebrated an even more delicious holiday.

Schedule Release Day came in September last season, much later than normal. Dayton had a much easier time putting together the 2017-18 non-conference schedule. When UD announced the schedule Monday, it became the 83rd of 351 Division I teams to announce its schedule, according to The D1 Docket, a Twitter account that keeps track of such things. Dayton was 263rd last season.

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“We always want to put ourselves in a position,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said, “where what we do in the non-conference, should we be able to take care of business, come conference we’ve put ourselves in position for an at-large bid for the postseason. Between (Athletic Director) Neil (Sullivan) and (assistant coach) Darren Hertz and our staff and myself, what we’ve tried to do is put together a schedule that’s realistic for the team we think we have for this coming year and obviously going forward. I’m excited about it. I think it’s a schedule that will challenge us. You have a variety of styles of play and competitive teams that will be a measuring stick in terms of where we are as a team and where we need to get to.”

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The games against Saint Mary’s, Auburn and Mississippi State were already known. The three games in the Charleston Classic (Nov. 16, 17 and 19) are still unknown, but are expected to be released by the end of July. Possible opponents include: Auburn, Clemson, Hofstra, Indiana State, Old Dominion, Ohio and Temple.

The schedule includes seven games at UD Arena, two true road games and four games against teams that won 20 or more games last season. Unlike last season, there are no Division II opponents on the schedule.

Game times and the Atlantic 10 schedule will be announced at a later date. UD will play an exhibition game against an opponent to be announced on Nov. 4 at UD Arena. Here’s a glance at the nine known opponents:

Nov. 10, home vs. Ball State: UD last played the Cardinals in 2010. The Flyers lead the all-time series 5-1. Ball State has posted back-to-back 21-win seasons and tied for the Mid-American Conference West Division championship in 2017.

Nov. 25, home vs. Akron: UD last played the Zips in 2010. The Flyers lead the series 11-2. Akron finished 27-9 last season, winning the MAC East Division, and 26-9 in 2016.

Nov. 29, home vs. Auburn: This is the first game in a two-game series. Dayton will play at Auburn in the 2018-19 season. Auburn finished 18-14 last season.

Dec. 3, at Mississippi State (Starkville, Miss.): This is the first game in a two-game series. Dayton will host Mississippi State in the 2018-19 season. Dayton played Mississippi State in 1975 at UD Arena, losing 56-54. That’s the only meeting in the series.

Dec. 6, home vs. Tennessee Tech: The teams played in 2002 and 2005, splitting the two games. The Golden Eagles finished 12-20 last season.

Dec. 9, home vs. Penn: This will be the first meeting between the two schools. The Quakers were 13-15 last season. It was their fifth straight losing season.

Dec. 16, home vs. Georgia State: Georgia State is coached by Dayton native Ron Hunter. The teams have never played. The Panthers finished 20-13 last season. It was their third 20-win season in the last four years.

Dec. 19, at Saint Mary’s College (Moraga, Calif.): UD lost to Saint Mary’s 61-57 at home last season. The Gaels finished 29-5, beating Virginia Commonwealth in the first round of the NCAA tournament before losing to Arizona.

Dec. 23, home vs. Wagner: Dayton won the only meeting in 2003. The Seahawks, located in Staten Island, N.Y., finished 16-14 last season.

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