Tom over at the Blackburn Review answered some questions as a guest blogger for this week's match-up of two preseason ranked teams in GT and the Dayton Flyers. Here are our responses to his questions. We advise all of you to head over there and get involved in the discussion as well as to start one over here. Here are the responses:
1. GT lost two seniors accounting for about a third of GT's total points last year. Did Dayton lose any key cogs due to graduation, academic attrition, or the NBA? Who is taking their place?
The NBA? You jest. The last time Dayton sent a player to the NBA Nina Hartley and Peter North were running the porn game. The Flyers lost one senior to graduation last year, but return 10 or their top 11 players from last year’s squad—including 4 of 5 starters. UD brought in two freshmen, neither of which figure to play significant roles in Thursday’s game. Obviously, the fact that UD returns almost the same team from last season’s 27 win team has led to high expectations for the upcoming season.
2. Feeding off the previous question, which Flyers should GT fans keep an eye out for in the opening round of the tourney in Puerto Rico?
The lion share of the press goes to Kountry Chris Wright. Wright, a local product, was named to both the Wooden and Naismith preseason lists and named first team All-Atlantic 10 this season. Senior guard Marcus Johnson was the team’s second leading scorer last year and its’ best defender. Sophomore Chris Johnson is a budding star, an athletic swingman who has an improved outside game and an unbelievable rebounder for his size (18pts/15reb against Creighton). I would imagine that Marcus Johnson gets permanently matched up with Shumpert, and Wright will battle with Lawal at some point in the game.
3. Obviously Tech plays in the ACC but one team sticks in the craw of all Tech fans. Tech fans HATE the University [sic] of Georgia. Beating them in basketball is very important for Tech fans and only secondary to the Thanksgiving football game. Beating them in any sport, in general, gives Tech fans a warm and fuzzy feeling. What team is the big game on the schedule that Flyer fans circle?
Xavier is easily the biggest game of the year for UD. Just as Georgia Tech gets overshadowed by Georgia, Xavier receives the type of exposure Dayton covets. Xavier’s recent postseason success (two Elite Eights and a Sweet 16 over the past six years) has only added more fuel to the fire, as Dayton fans must cope with the fact that their main rival is raising the ceiling for all mid-major programs.
That being said, I would have to say that this year’s Puerto Rico Tipoff is something Dayton fans have been focused on since the field was announced. Obviously facing Tech in the opening game will be a challenge, and the prospect of facing Villanova in the second round means this week has the possibility of firmly establishing UD as a top 25 team this season.
4. Winfield lived in the Dayton area during the Oliver Purnell years. What is his legacy now that he is years removed from the program? Positive or negative?
Definitely positive from what I can tell. He came in and brought a program that was mired in a sea of failure back to a respectable level. The criticisms most UD fans have of Purnell was that he was so open about looking for that next job. It was clear that OP was looking for greener pastures and that it was only a matter of time before he was walking out the door. The other critique that was pervasive during Purnell’s tenure was his lack of success recruiting locally. Brian Gregory is reversing that trend, evidenced by his signing of Wright and reeling in Juwan Staten (a top 50 recruit) for the 2010 class. I will say that some fans do take some pleasure in OP’s continued failure to win an NCAA tournament game.
5. Concerning your mascot, if one state were to be allocated 100% of the Wright Brothers fame, which state should it be? North Carolina or Ohio?
It’s got to be Ohio. That’s the home of the Wright Brothers, and where the plans and research were initiated. The planes themselves were constructed and tested in Dayton. Granted, the initial flights did take place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but the real grunt work took place in Dayton.
Follow my logic here: the majority of cocaine is grown and cultivated via coca leaves in Columbia. An overwhelming amount of that processed cocaine is then filtered into the United States to be enjoyed by all. Now, would you say that cocaine is more of a Columbian commodity, where it is grown, tended to and eventually packaged for sale? Or would you say coke is an American good, simply because that is where it is used? If you associate Columbia with cocaine, then you must link the Buckeye State to the Wright Brothers.
Thanks to the Blackburn Review for answering our questions. Let us know your comments and thoughts for the Dayton Flyers matchup.