Pride may be one of the seven deadly sins, but it’s a good trait when it comes to a basketball team, and Dayton coach Archie Miller wants his players exhibiting more of it in games.
The opposite of pride might be humility, and Miller believes the Flyers haven’t been showing near enough of that, either.
UD dropped an 81-52 decision at Saint Louis on Saturday — three days after giving up 20 offensive rebounds in a 66-61 defeat at rival Xavier — and Miller is fed up with his team’s lack of fight.
“I think our kids have it pretty good here. The effort level on Saturday was unacceptable. The pride we played with on Saturday was unacceptable. And it’s kind of a gut-check time for us. We have to go to battle on Wednesday against another great team,” said Miller, referring to Atlantic 10 preseason favorite Saint Joseph’s.
“A lot of it will start and stop with the mindset of our team. … How tough mentally are we? How much humility do we have? How much pride do we have to play for a program that, quite frankly, thinks pretty highly of itself.”
The Flyers, 12-9 overall, were picked to finish seventh in the league but have dropped to 13th place at 2-5.
Since joining the A-10 in 1995-96, including some seasons of divisional play, they’ve always had at least the ninth-best record except in 2005-06 when they tied for 11th.
Only the top 12 teams advance to the A-10 tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“I’m looking for some guys to really respect the name on the front of the jersey and the 13,000 people who show up and cheer for them win, lose or draw,” Miller said. “They don’t understand what it feels like at some places to go down in a rivalry game and come back the next game and not perform very well. There are certain places that will boo you right out of the arena.
“I think our kids need to understand they’ve got it pretty good around here. It’s nice to fly on charter planes and stay in nice hotels, get treated like you’re a rock star on this campus. I don’t know how it is everywhere else, but these kids have got it made. It’s nothing that can be taken for granted.”
The Flyers have made five straight postseason trips, but they’ll need a strong finishing kick to extend the streak.
“I think our guys need to understand there are only 34 days left before they tell you if you’re going to keep playing or not,” Miller said. “We’ve got to find some guys right now that have an edge about them and want to play hard.”
Saint Joseph’s (13-7, 4-3 Atlantic 10) at Dayton (12-9, 2-5), 7 p.m., Time Warner Ch. 1311 and 311, 95.7, 1290