The Dayton Flyers hit the road on Friday night, taking on the Saint Louis Billikens in an Atlantic 10 contest.
The Flyers continue to be the darling mid-major of the 2019-20 season. Anthony Grant, now in his third season as coach, has shown marked improvement each year since arriving, and the Flyers look to be a second-weekend team come NCAA Tournament time, at the very least.
Dayton is now 15-2 on the season and undefeated through four games in the Atlantic 10, including a thrashing of VCU on Tuesday night.
Dayton boasts one of the best individual talents in the nation in forward Obi Toppin (19.5 points, 7.5 rebounds), but this is not a one-man show. The Flyers sport a quintet of double-digit scorers in total, including guard Jalen Crutcher (13.3 points, 5.2 assists), Trey Landers (11.1 points, 5.9 rebounds), Ibi Watson (11.5 points, 49 percent on threes) and Ryan Mikesell (10.4 points, 4.8 rebounds).
Crutcher is just as important to Dayton as Toppin, while Watson brings experience from his time at Michigan.
Saint Louis is one of the more surprising teams this season, starting the campaign at 14-3 overall with a 3-1 record in the Atlantic 10. The Billikens pulled off an impressive win on the road last weekend, knocking off Richmond 74-58.
Coach Travis Ford has yet another solid defensive team this season, as the Billikens currently rank 52nd in adjusted defensive efficiency while holding opponents to under 40 percent from the field.
Their .397 field-goal percentage against ranks 33rd in the nation currently. As a team, the Billikens also rank in the top 50 in total steals and blocks.
Dayton is a 7.5-point favorite in this one, with the over/under set at 138.5.
Flying Like An Eagle
Dayton has been one of the more consistent teams in the nation in a season where that is hard to come by. The Flyers have covered the spread in 10 of their 17 games. The Flyers are the top team in the nation in effective field goal percentage as well as two-point percentage.
They have gone over in 11 of 17 games this season and have won six games in a row straight up, two of which were road conference games.
Are The Billikens Actually Charmed?
This Saint Louis team is talented but will beat you with physicality as opposed to finesse. The Billikens play defense, block shots, and hit the glass.
The problem is they don’t shoot the three-pointer very well (207th), and they are brutal from the free-throw line (353rd). They are 9-7 ATS on the season, but just 4-6 at home ATS and have gone over in 10 of their 16 games.
Pick and Prediction
The Flyers simply have not only too many weapons but too many weapons that can shoot it. The Flyers are one of the best offensive teams in the nation and regardless of how good Saint Louis is defensively, the Flyers are going to score some points.
Hasahn French is going to have a big game for Saint Louis, but it won’t be enough to either win straight up or cover. Dayton covers and play the over.
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