The common link between the Dayton men’s basketball team’s Elite Eight run last March and the women’s basketball team’s Sweet 16 appearance this season is Simon Harris.
After spending three seasons as a graduate assistant on men’s coach Archie Miller’s staff, Harris joined women’s coach Jim Jabir’s staff as a full-time assistant this season.
If No. 7 seed Dayton beats No. 3 seed Louisville at 2:30 p.m. today at the Times Union Center in the Sweet 16, history will repeat for Harris.
“My dad (Larry Harris) coached for 30-plus years, and he went to one (Sweet 16) in 2005 with N.C. State,” Harris said. “He called me the other day right after the Kentucky game and said, ‘I can’t believe it. This is ridiculous.’ It’s been awesome. I’m just glad Coach Jabir gave me and an opportunity and Archie gave me a start to my career.”
Harris, a 2008 N.C. State graduate, had never coached women before this season, but he said the only difference was the women’s coaches’ offices at the Cronin Center are 32 steps down the hallway from the men’s.
Harris sees many similarities between the two tournament runs.
“Last year, it was great to be there and see the kids inspired to win,” Harris said. “Our girls have been talking about this since day one. We kind of have expected this.
“It’s completely new territory both times. It’s been cool to see the way the kids on the men’s and women’s side have handled it It’s kind of like, ‘This is what we set out to do. Let’s go do it.’ ”
Tattoo talk: Jabir promised his team he would get a tattoo if it made the Sweet 16. He plans to deliver on the promise.
“I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen because we’ve been on him about it,” senior Ally Malott said. “We looked up a couple options online, but they were a little obnoxious. I think he said something about (getting the UD) logo, but we’ll see.”
Jabir faced the tattoo question in a press conference Friday.
“What I was going to do was stand up, turn around and start to lower my drawers like I was going to tell you I have it on my butt,” he said. “But I don’t have it yet. We’re going to get together as a team and watch me get a tattoo when all the fun is over.
“It’s going to be so small you’d have to really search for it.”
Long shots: The Flyers have made at least one 3-pointer in 447 straight games. They rank fifth in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (38.3).
Opponents shoot 30.4 percent from long range against Louisville.South Florida made 7 of 17 against the Cardinals on Monday in a 60-52 loss. If the Flyers shoot anywhere close to their average, they’ll have a shot today.
“You can’t live by the 3 because you can die by it,” guard Amber Deane said, “but if we have the open shot we’re going to take it.”