The Dayton Flyers could claim a Mid-American Conference championship of sorts before the end of the month.
UD beat Ball State 78-77 in its season opener on Nov. 10. It plays the Ohio Bobcats at 7 p.m. Friday in the consolation bracket of the Charleston Classic at TD Arena. The Flyers play another MAC team, Akron, in their first game back at UD Arena on Nov. 25. That’s three MAC opponents in the first five games.
For the second straight season, Dayton (1-1) lost its first tournament game and will miss the chance to play a team from a power-five conference. Last season, Dayton lost to Nebraska in the first round of the Wooden Legacy and played Portland instead of UCLA in the second game. This season, it will play Ohio (1-1) instead of Clemson.
Dayton’s first-round loss also means it will play Old Dominion or Indiana State in the final game Sunday instead of Auburn or Temple. Dayton will play at 3 p.m. Sunday if it beats Ohio and at 1 p.m. if it loses.
Anthony Grant’s advice to the Flyers on Thursday after a 72-69 first-round loss to Hofstra was:
“He just said keep playing hard and let's finish strong,” forward Kostas Antetokounmpo said.
Here are four things to know about Dayton’s second opponent, Ohio:
1. First meeting since 1965: Dayton last played Ohio in the NCAA tournament in 1965, winning 66-65 at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky. The teams last met in the regular season in 1957 at UD Fieldhouse with the Flyers winning 58-41.
RELATED: Five takeaways from Dayton’s loss
Ohio leads the all-time series 20-12 but hasn’t beaten Dayton since 1949.
“I know for our alumni it would be a huge deal if we could play them and beat them,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips told Jason Arkley, of the Athens Messenger this week. “They probably wouldn’t think it was neat if we played them and lost to them. Any time they want to play, I’d like to play them.”
2. Injury woes: Ohio played well in the first round, losing 81-76 to Clemson, despite playing without injured forward Jason Carter. He averaged 9.9 points per game as a freshman. He was in a walking boot on the bench Thursday and has not played in the first two games because of a foot injury.
3. Career night: Forward Gavin Block had 22 points and 10 rebounds Thursday. The Bobcats rallied from a 16-point deficit to make it interesting in the second half, getting as close as four points in the final minute.
"I feel like that's just the type of team we are," Block told OhioBobcats.com. "We're never going to give up on any given moment or given day. We're going to fight until the last buzzer. That's just in our blood."
4. Recent history: This is the fourth season for Phillips, who was hired when Jim Christian left for Boston College in 2014. Christian replaced John Groce in 2012. Groce, who left for Illinois and is now at Akron, led Ohio to the brink of the Elite Eight in his final season with victories against Michigan and South Florida preceding an overtime loss to North Carolina.
Under Phillips, Ohio has finished 10-20, 23-12 and 20-11 in the last three seasons.