Without injured center Richard Solomon, Cal hung with Syracuse blow for blow before giving way down the stretch because of foul trouble. Dayton shocked everyone by knocking off Gonzaga in the first round. Then, they led Baylor for almost the entire game before going cold at the wrong time and losing by just a point.
For the third game in three days, depth comes into play. Whereas the fearless Flyers go ten deep, Cal doesn't know whether Solomon will be back from the corneal abrasion he suffered in the first round.
Fortunately, our young wings are showing that they're ready to compete and to contribute at this level. Dayton does have one scoring threat in the post, but otherwise runs a motion offense that relies heavily on scoring from the wing. They have a balanced attack with four players averaging 12+ points per game. Against the Zags, Dayton grabbed 18 offensive rebounds and got hot in the 2nd half by hitting over 60+% from the field.
David Kravish has had a breakout tournament. But does he have enough in the tank to carry the load inside?
C Matt Kavanaugh(Sr), 6'10, 250 lbs, 3.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg
F Devin Oliver(Sr), 6'7, 225 lbs, 12.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg
F Dyshawn Pierre(So), 6'6, 210 lbs, 12.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg
G Khari Price(So), 5'11, 170 lbs, 12.2 ppg, 1.0 apg
G Jordan Sibert(Jr), 6'4, 187 lbs, 15.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Kavanaugh is a big body who is known for his rebounding, particularly on the offensive end. Oliver is one of those undersized, scrappy post players who is tough on the glass and adept at scoring inside. You also have to respect his range because he's their second-best three point shooter on the year. Pierre is another athletic scorer who likes to crash the boards. He's been cold from deep so far this year, but was their best three point shooter last year. Price was a little turnover-prone last year, but he's been very dangerous from deep. Ohio State transfer Jordan Sibert is in the running for the Maui MVP. He put up 23 against Gonzaga and followed that up with another 20 in the loss to Baylor. Besides hitting 50% from 3, he's been a terror slashing to the basket. Vee Sanford is a versatile and experienced scorer who has been playing the part of their 6th man.
Keys to the Game:
1) Stay out of foul trouble
Just getting this one out of the way.
2) Check Sibert
He's been on fire and is playing with a lot of confidence. Expect Wallace to start on him with Cobbs taking a turn. Kreklow is another good option with his length, but will likely be needed to battle inside.
3) Keep Pierre and Oliver off the glass
Their forwards are physical, athletic, and really like to fly around out there snagging offensive rebounds. Worse, they're good at drawing fouls inside. We simply can't afford to let Kravish and Kreklow sit because of foul trouble.
4) Don't lose track of Price
He's the other guy they have shooting 50% from three. With all the attention being drawn by Sibert, we'll have to rotate a younger player at times on Price. This type of matchup really hurt us against Syracuse. Our young guys have to stay focused, be smart with their close-outs, and force him off the three point line.
Tip-off: 4:30 pm