The great thing about these tournament games, well, depending on how much you like to read, is that you can find a couple thousand previews for each contest. This internet thing is grrreat, isn't it? Here's my pitiful attempt (try to save the boos until the end):
This game's big question: Can an Atlantic-10 team out-athlete a Big East squad? That's what Dayton'll have to do in order pull off the upset in Minneapolis. And it is possible. Chris Wright, Marcus Johnson, Charles Little... these guys can fly. They boast big-program athleticism, and have stepped up in Dayton's few big wins this season (see: W vs. Marquette, W vs. Xavier). But Dayton is not your typical NCAA tournament upset team. They don't have shooters, like a 2008 Drake or San Diego. And they don't have a great big man, like your typical Kent State team or that 2006 George Mason squad. Dayton just needs to get up and down the court faster than the Mountaineers and build momentum with wild, high-flying dunks. And maybe throw in some alley-oops. Seriously. That might sound like the worst assessment in college basketball history, but I'm dead serious. Dunks. Alleys. Oops.
It has become an overused cliché in the basketball world, but the mid-range jumper is definitely a lost art… especially in Southwestern Ohio. Dayton rarely makes, fuck it, rarely even tries shots from beyond 12 feet. They won't win this game with three pointers or jump shots. Dunks will have to be the bread and butter. Dunks, baby.
As for West Virginia… Their flood of forwards (alliteration!) could pose a real problem for the Flyers. Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks can, and probably will, tear apart Kurt Huelsman and/or Devin Searcy down low. I'm picturing Huelsman's blood and body parts strewn across the Metrodome. Kurt is terrible, by the way. Like, Jimmy Fallon Late Night bad. Or Adam Dunn throwing home bad. Or Pittsburgh Pirates scouting department bad. Fuck it, the gloves are off. Kurt Huelsman is West Virginia family vacation bad.
That Alex Ruoff cat plays like a forward too when he's not hitting threes, doesn't he? After all, this is a Bob Huggins team. Everyone's a damn forward. And a punk. Do I dare deem this Catholics vs. Convicts II? I won't, mainly because I'm not sure of London Warren's criminal past, but I could. Keep that in mind, West Virginia commenters. I'll do it. Anyway, back to this "so-called" preview. Wright and Little will need to stay aggressive on every defensive possession and have the wherewithal to slide in where help (or a massive block) is needed. Blocks. And Dunks. Tugh. That's how the Flyers swing a victory.
I think we can all agree on the theme of this tournament so far: The smaller teams have made nice runs, but tend to run out of gas in the last eight minutes or so. That's one thing that won't happen to Dayton. They run a 10-11-and sometimes 12-man rotation. It's ridiculous, and might remind you of a hockey game, if you've ever watched that sport. I'm talking line changes and shit.
I have a strange inkling that UD will go underrepresented in the comments section. Here's to hoping I'm wrong (chug). I don't want to homer it up too much, but that seems to be the standard around here. Then again, it's hard to feel really confident in the Flyers this afternoon. Let's just get this party started, and I'll try not to leave the room crying.
Three o'clock on a Friday? Definitely not too early to start boozing. Oh, and we have Gusss Johnnsonnnn on the mic!
2:41p I think I'll go in descending order here. It's better for those who want to join in late. You know, the band wagoners.
2:46p We're getting Temple-Arizona St. bonus coverage here. Dayton-WVU tip should be coming up in about 10 minutes.
2:47p I guess I should go ahead and admit that I'm live blogging on campus at the University of Dayton. That might have been apparent in the preview.
2:50p According to CBS, tip is at 3:04pm EST. Yee-haw! (That was for you WVU bastards.)
2:51p Damn. Play hasn't started and I'm already throwing out the bias. I do feel kind of bad. On the other hand, I don't feel bad about railing Suss's (drop some S's, bro) sister to land this gig.
2:54p I grabbed a Dayton Daily News while I was out grabbing some lunch. That fine publication is all over the upset chatter. Worst paper in America? I'll go ahead and nominate it.
2:59p Apparently West Virginia's team charter to Minneapolis broke down in Clarksburg, W.Va. so the team didn't arrive at their Minnesota hotel until 4 a.m. on Thursday. Bob Huggins was none too pleased. "I'd have been ready to choke somebody before, literally, choke somebody," said the WVU coach. Classy.
3:02p UD's Charles Little believes he can handle WVU's Devin Ebanks. "He's a little longer and a lot taller than me," Little admitted Thursday evening. "I think I'm stronger than him, and I'll try to push him out and not let him use his length to get around me." We'll see, Chuck. Or is it Chaz?
3:06p Here. We. Go.
3:07p What'd I tell you about Kurt Huelsman. Guy can't make a layup?
3:08p Truck Bryant — what a name.
3:08p Dayton has to "hit some free throws" to win. Nice, Len Elmore. Thanks for coming. (He's right though).
3:09p London Warren, the "Jacksonville Jet." I swear that's a self-anointed nickname.
3:10p "Dayton is working harder right now." - Gus Johnson.
3:14p Solid pressure defense from Dayton, but London Warren continues his regular season trend of making awful mistakes. First media timeout. 9-8, Dayton leads.
3:18p At least Huelsman appears to be trying against Ebanks.
3:20p Wright is learning that he can't pull those 1-on-1 moves against Big East defenders.
3:21p I can smell the Crown Royal on Bob Huggins' breath from here, in Dayton, Ohio.
3:23p A whole lot of Saturn commercials. Weird. Perhaps they're targeting the Mountaineer audience. Zing! Get it? You drive shitty cars.
3:28p "West Virginia looks out of sync" - Gus Johnson.
3:29p I'm really trying to avoid Dayton compliments, for jinxing-sake. But, other than KURT, they look composed. Nice defense, good decisions on the floor. Very odd to see for someone who has watched this team all year.
3:31p Timeout. 21-15, Dayton leads. From a roommate (I have 9. Ahh.): "Kurt (Huelsman) is really making his presence felt in the paint with 0 rebounds."
3:36p It's amazing that Dayton is having so much success on the offensive boards. Get your squad some inspiration, Huggins... No, Bob. Not liquid inspiration. Get that bottle of Korski out of here. This is a gaw-damn tournament game.
3:38p Chris Johnson bricks a jump shot from about 8 feet out. What'd I tell you? That's not UD's game.
3:39p Two lane violations by Dayton in the first half. F-ing wonderful.
3:41p I'd trust Donte Stallworth to jump his Bentley over my inclined body before I'd trust Kurt Huelsman with a mid-range jumper. Bada bing. Bada boom.
3:47p A bunch of girls just showed up, Dayton students mind you, and they're talking about their siblings. What in the — I can't hear Gus Johnson. I can't hear Gus Johnnnson. Do I move out of the living room? Can't. Too superstitious.
3:50p Kurt, I'm going to f-ing cut you.
3:51p Another timeout. Grabbing a beer. Anyone still feeling the pain from St. Patrick's Day? Egh.
3:55p No way Dayton was going to hit that last shot. I wish I was live-betting on Bodog right now.
3:56p Halftime. 33-28, Dayton leads.
3:57p A little halftime entertainment for you crazy kids. Ray LaMontagne performing "Trouble," live on the BBC. Because, you know... West Virginia's in trouble. Or something. I don't know. I had this whole thing planned out last night.
4:16p Sparse crowd at the Metrodome. I'm seeing a lot of yellow, not much blue and red. From a roomate: "Why did all the West Virginia fans have to dress up like their mascot?" It's like I have hired writers here.
4:17p After a shot of the UD Cheerleaders, a girl in the room goes "Oh my gosh! She's a Pi Phi!" So cancel that whole "hired writers" comment. Here's to hoping these chicks will leave soon (chug).
4:20p Alex Ruoff has four fouls. Wow. Queue up that halftime song again.
4:23p 41-33, Dayton leads.
4:25p Dayton has been great in close games this year, surprisingly. Me thinks this one goes down to the wire. But you already knew that... once Gus Johnson was slated to announce the game.
4:26p Again, Kurt Huelsman shows his ineptitude. KURT.
4:28p These scoring updates should probably be posted more frequently for those unable to watch. 41-35, Dayton leads with 15:25 left.
4:31p Timeout. So, how queer is Duke?
4:32p "West Virginia, feeling a sense of urgency." - Len Elmore
4:33p Massive dunk by Chris "Top Flight" Wright. And 1. "Emphatic," says Gus Johnson.
4:35p AND ANOTHER. Chris Wright, throwing it down. Gus Johnson loves it. What'd I tell you about those dunks?
4:36p Dayton leads 48-42.
4:37p Devin Ebanks reminds Gus Johnson of Hakim Warrick, the former Syracuse star, now in the NBA.
4:38p 48-44, Dayton hanging on. 11:32 remaining.
4:40p Another roommate, on KURT: "He can't rebound, he can't shoot, he can't pass. All he can hope for is points via goaltending." Sorry to hate, Mr. and Mrs. Huelsman, but your son is terrible.
4:43p Huge three from West Virginia. 48-47, Dayton leads.
4:44p KURT misses two free throws. Predictable.
4:45p Hey, Gus. Let's pretend that Wright dunk was also "emphatic."
4:47p I don't want to jinx anything, or come off as too biased (HA!), but the Mountaineers look a little tired. No joke. No homo. All that sh-t.
4:50p Dayton 52 West Virginia 50. 8:17 remaining. You can hear the whole University of Dayton campus yelling in unison "tick. tick. tick. tick." But the clock won't move.
4:52p According to Gus Johnson, Charles Little is nicknamed "The Dinosaur," and has "Jurassic strength." I swear I'd go down on him right now. Gus... not Little. Well, both. No homo. Did I already use that?
4:55p 54-52, Dayton hanging on by the smallest of threads. 7:01 remaining.
4:56p Alex Ruoff is back in the game. Surprising. He'll be needed at the end of this one.
4:57p Ruoff proceeds to miss two free throws. I thought that kid was a shooter?
4:59p Back-to-back tie-ups, back-to-back jump ball calls. This is getting really good. If only these f-ing girls would shut the f-ck up. Huggins, any ideas?
5:01p Two white skinheads enter the game. Does West Virginia pull players from its student section?
5:03p KURT gets a rebound. And the whole campus erupts! Holy hell. "They should rush the court," says a roommate.
5:05p Dayton still leading, 57-54. 3:56 left.
5:06p I just orgasmed (sp?). That was sick-nasty for about five seconds. Unreal. That guy can fly. He is Christ Wright, as my friends at the Blackburn Review would say.
5:09p Dayton still... still hanging on. 61-56, 2:36 left.
5:10p The Dinosaur, Chaz Little, with the And 1. Alex Ruoff fouls out. Is this really happening? Oh my dear lord.
5:12p KURT gets the REBOUND! Ahhhh. And the team rushes the court to hug the big idiot. 63-58, Dayton leads with a minute remaining.
5:14p 65-58, Dayton leading with 42.7 seconds to go. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh. my. GOD. A roommate we call Mad Dog yells "Let's get some tequila!"
5:16p Huggins calls a timeout, presumably to take a swig of Evan Williams. The burn helps, doesn't it, Bob? 65-60. 34 seconds left.
5:17p I'm freakinnng out. Freaking out. 66-60, Dayton leads, 26 seconds remaining. Timeout.
5:19p Dayton leads, 68-60. 25 seconds left. TICK. TICK. TICK. TICK.
5:20p Oh no. Girls in the room start singing "Gooo Dayton Flyyyerrs." Anyone got a grenade?
5:21p Chris Wright snags the final rebound to finish with a double-double. Game over. Unreal. F-ck my liver.
5:22p I'm going outside to scream hysterically.
5:35p Dayton has been overrun by Louisville fans since Thursday, but they're now joining in the fun of this Flyers victory. Louisville's band is rocking on Brown St. I never thought I'd say this... but there's no place I'd rather be right now than Dayton, Ohio.
5:40p First NCAA tournament win for the Flyers since 1990. I'm signing off to go get my Bob Huggins on, minus the driving part. It's been awesome, Deadspin. Thanks AJ. Thanks Suss.