Some college basketball players worm their way into your memory. You start to think you’ve been watching these guys play for a decade when it has only been a year or two. Purdue has had two good recent examples in Robbie Hummel and Brian Cardinal (ok…not THAT recent). Perry Ellis is another good example. Or did he just look a little old? So is T.J. Cline. I swear this dude was playing when I was at Dayton. Maybe it’s just the damage he inflicts on the Flyers that has made him loom over seasons he was never a part of. Whatever the actual reason, the guy is finally a senior so we can finally stop talking about him soon.
There are other players taking the court tomorrow at 6 p.m. Central on ESPNU. Let’s talk about what to watch for.
- This is a classic strength (Dayton’s defense) vs. strength (Richmond’s offense) contest. I have always believed that when you get a matchup like that it’s up to the weaker parts of the team to show up and it sure looks like Dayton’s offense is better than Richmond’s defense.
- Richmond is off to a 5-0 start in conference play so this is an early game with first place on the line. With VCU inexplicably losing to Fordham tonight, both teams will want to take advantage of picking up a game on the Rams (4-2) in conference.
- I’ve waited long enough. Cline is putting up a serious A10 POY case with his current average stat line of 17.8/7.9/5.3. That’s…just excellent. Add to that his absolute demolition of Dayton last March (61 points in two games) and you have a recipe for disaster. Lucky for the Flyers those 61 points came in two losses.
- Unlike Dayton, Richmond appears to have been healthy all year with 7 (!) guys playing in all 17 of their games. They lean pretty hard on their top 3 of Cline, Khwan Fore, and ShawnDre’ Jones. Both Cline and Fore are shooting below 28% from 3 this year, but as much as I respect the law of averages I don’t want anyone on Dayton leaving Cline alone behind the arc tomorrow. Fore…fine. Jones is over 41% so he will be a big key for them beating the Flyers in the half court.
- I don’t think I need to go over Dayton’s keys again. They’ll have to overcome a key injury (Kyle Davis this time) again. They’re still working in another player (Charles Cooke) from another injury…again. They’re still not getting much from Darrell Davis or John Crosby, although Ryan Mikesell has been impressive. They’ll have to win on defense without their best defensive player and rely on Scoochie, Pollard, and (maybe) Cooke on offense…again.
- I probably should just cut and paste that last point for use in the future. I’ll just substitute the names.
- Dayton is an early 10 point favorite in this one. Doing the research for this game I was inclined to think that Dayton should be pretty heavy favorites here despite Richmond’s 5-0 start. I’m inclined to believe that both Vegas and I are right on this one. Flyers -10 it is. Should be a fun one.