Dayton gets first chance against outside competition Saturday in Cincinnati

Flyers play a John Brannen-coached team for second time in three years

The Dayton Flyers haven't played outside competition since March when they lost to Colorado in the first round of the NIT. Their long wait ends Saturday when they face Cincinnati in a closed-door scrimmage at Fifth Third Arena.

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“The whole team’s been looking forward to it because we’ve been beating the crap out of each other all summer and all fall,” redshirt senior forward Ryan Mikesell said, “so we’re really excited for it.”

Dayton has not won one of these scrimmages in Mikesell's first four years. Last season, Dayton scrimmaged Pittsburgh at Denison University in Granville. It scrimmaged Northern Kentucky in Dayton in 2017, Purdue in Indianapolis in 2016, Marquette in 2015 in Indianapolis and Illinois in 2014.

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“I’ll have to add that to the list of things I haven’t done in my Dayton basketball career,” Mikesell said.

The Bearcats finished 28-7 last season and have played in the NCAA tournament nine seasons in a row. Now coached by John Brannen after the departure of Mick Cronin for UCLA, they were picked to finish third in the AAC this season. Their top player is Jarron Cumberland, the AAC preseason player of the year.

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Cincinnati ranks 27th in the Ken Pomeroy preseason ratings, so this will be one of the top tests of the season for the Flyers even if it doesn’t count.

“We’ve been working extremely hard the whole summer playing against each other,” redshirt junior guard Jhery Matos said. “It’s going to be fun playing against somebody we don’t know. Hopefully, we take advantage of the opportunity and we grow from that.”

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