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If you predicted these two teams would matchup before the tournament started, good job. As the 10 and 11 seeds, they both have needed two upsets to reach this point, and it's hard to say which route has been more impressive. The 10-seed Stanford is a -3 point favorite over Dayton.
The Cardinal don't have a true point guard which is going to hurt them at some point, but so far so good. They led most of the way against both New Mexico and Kansas and held onto those leads despite full-court presses toward the end of the game and multiple turnovers. The reason they've been able to win is because of their size. New Mexico beat up on the MWC because of their size, but met their match in Stanford. And without Joel Embiid, Kansas just didn't have enough down low, especially as they aren't a great three-point shooting team.
Dayton's route was a bit more intense as their two games were constantly back and forth, giving up late leads, only to make a run and regain the advantage. Their first two games were against defensive teams and this one won't be all that different, although once again the Stanford bigs will pose a problem. The Flyers used their driving and cutting to take down Ohio State's defense and used their shooting to beat Syracuse. This is a multi-faceted, balanced offense that can break down most opponents.
The question will be how the Flyers attack the Stanford defense. Getting looks in the paint is not going to be easy against Stefan Nastic, Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis. They'll have to use a lot of mid-range jumpers and hit their shots from deep. Dayton has a few guys that can shoot in Jordan Sibert and Vee Sanford, who both hit threes with at least a 40% clip. The balance of the Flyers is what hurts most teams though as they have five guys that can lead in scoring any given night.
Sibert and Sanford are the ones to keep in check on the edges with Devin Oliver and Dyshawn Pierre being the important pieces in the paint. Oliver and Pierre need to be a presence on the glass because Stanford is extremely physical down there.
Nastic's height could be an issue on both ends along with Powell's combination of athleticism and size. However, the fire starter for this offense comes through guards Chasson Randle and Anthony Brown. Both can shoot, but also both love to drive it to the rack. Randle scored 18.7 points per game through the season, but Brown shoots better than 45% from long range and was big in the New Mexico game hitting his threes.
The Flyers are a little deeper with Sanford and Scoochie Smith coming off the bench, while the Cardinal only really use three-point specialist John Gage, who hasn't found his shot in the first two games.
This game will likely fall in line with the previous two for each of these teams, being extremely close and back and forth. Dayton's all-around game is something Stanford hasn't had to deal with so far and that will be a problem, but the Cardinal's size will give the Flyers plenty of fits.
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