Earlier this season, Dayton coach Archie Miller checked his phone constantly to see the latest numbers on his team. The Ken Pomery app, which can tell you everything you want to know and everything you don’t want to know about your team, including its percentage chance of winning each game, was one of his favorites.
At about the point his Flyers were losing five out of six games, appearing to squander a 13-3 non-conference performance, Miller decided to take a different approach. He started to tune out the negative. He deleted the Pomeroy app from his phone.
You can add that to the long list of reasons the Flyers turned their season around and won nine of their last 10 regular-season games. A 60-48 victory over Richmond at UD Arena on Saturday proved again the Flyers of February and March are one of the best UD teams in recent years.
“I live and die by the numbers,” Miller said. “I just got mad at them. It plays with my emotions too much. It tells me when I’m going to lose, when I’m going to win. At the end of the day, what I figured out is I can’t be negative.”
Miller said he won’t permanently abandon the advanced analysis.
“I study those numbers like crazy,” Miller said. “Maybe I’ll look at them down the line. We were dropping at such a drastic rate, I got depressed.”
Miller has mentioned many times he wants the Flyers to tune out the noise and not listen to the prognosticators who predict the Flyers will make the NCAA tournament. He’s leading by example.
“I haven’t looked at the Internet. I haven’t looked at the newspaper,” Miller said. “I haven’t listened to any of them. I haven’t even studied our stats in over a month. The minute you get distracted, you start to move in a different direction, and it affects the way you approach the day. If we’re consistent, I think our players will be consistent. We’ve been very consistent down the stretch, not cutting any corners, making sure our guys get better. Step by step, it’s led us to where we are today.”
Big runs: Dayton beat Saint Louis 72-67 on Wednesday thanks in part to a 16-2 run in the final minutes. In the first half Saturday against Richmond, it ran off 13 straight points to seize control and never trailed again.
“We are a team of runs,” said senior Devin Oliver, who had his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. “Basketball is a game of runs. Tonight it was the crowd. They got loud. Little things got us going. Once we started to hit a few shots, we just kind went from there.”
Free throws: Richmond made 32-of-35 free throws (91 percent) in its first game against the Flyers. This time, it made 9-of-17 (53 percent).
“That was one of the main things,” Dayton senior Vee Sanford said. “Them getting to the free-throw line kind of broke us down last game. The fact that we moved our feet and kept our hands to ourselves made a big difference.”
Looking ahead: The Flyers (22-9, 10-6) will get the No. 5 seed if first-place Saint Louis (25-5, 12-3) beats fifth-place Massachusetts (23-6, 10-5) at 2 p.m. or the No. 6 seed if the Minutemen hand the Billikens their fourth straight loss.
If Dayton is the No. 6 seed, it will play at 9 p.m. Thursday against the No. 11 seed, Rhode Island, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. If Dayton is the No. 5 seed, it will play at 2:30 p.m. Thursday against the No. 12 seed George Mason or No. 13 seed Fordham. George Mason and Fordham open the tournament at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
All the games will be played at the Barclays Center.
Around the A-10: George Washington (23-7, 11-5) rallied to win 70-67 at Fordham and moved a half game ahead of UMass.
Virginia Commonwealth (24-7, 12-4) beat Saint Bonaventure (14-14, 6-10) 86-67. The Rams are a half game ahead of Saint Joseph’s and a half game behind Saint Louis. Saint Joseph’s (21-8, 11-4) hosts La Salle (14-15, 6-9) at 4 p.m. today. When that game ends, the final A-10 bracket will be known.
New inductees: Dayton inducted four former athletes into its hall of fame on Saturday and honored them at halftime: women’s basketball player Christi Hester Mack (2000); men’s basketball player Keith Waleskowski (2004); James “Pepper” Wilson, the school’s first sports information director (1949-57); and Donald “Butch” Zimmerman (1958), a football and baseball player.
Xavier coach Chris Mack, who’s married to Christi Hester Mack, attended Saturday’s game and sat in a luxury box above the arena. Later on Twitter, he wrote, “My wife, tonight’s Hall of Famer, cleaning up paw prints from the dogs in our house. Ceremony short lived. Back to work babe!”