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Dayton Flyers Top 10: Fun facts you might not know about 2017-18 team

Published: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 3:40 PM

Second-half highlights: Dayton vs. Ohio Dominican

The Dayton Flyers walked down the tunnel to Tom Blackburn Court at UD Arena on Saturday before an exhibition game against Ohio Dominican the same way they have done the past three seasons.

The players draped their arms around each other’s shoulders and sang the whole way. If they ever stop this tradition, the echoes will remain. That’s how loud they are — or #LOWD, if you’re in that new tradition.

DAYTON TOP 10: Freshman seasonsA-10 wins; conference gamesbest recordsworst recordstop statsbest namesbest players from Detroitbest players from Chicago

Fans don’t get to see the Flyers sing and dance very often, unless it’s via video. Here are 10 other fun facts fans might not know about Dayton basketball heading into the 2017-18 season, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday against Ball State at UD Arena:

1. Youth movement: According to the NCAA, only seven teams return fewer than 2,000 minutes played from the 2016-17 season. Dayton, with 2,020 minutes returning from last season, almost falls into a group that includes: Pittsburgh (648); Kentucky (890); Austin Peay (1,392); Robert Morris (1,612); Iowa State (1,728); James Madison (1,881); and Chattanooga (1,909).

RELATED: Momentum builds for Ohio’s version of Crossroads Classic

Graduated senior Scoochie Smith led the Flyers with 1,000 minutes last season (31.3 per game). Of Dayton’s returning players, Xeyrius Williams played the most minutes (728). He’s followed by Darrell Davis (644), John Crosby (424), Josh Cunningham (162), Trey Landers (52), Joey Gruden (7) and Jack Westerfield (3).

WHIO’s Larry Hansgen, left, and Bucky Bockhorn broadcast the Flyers’ victory over Fordham in the second round of the A-10 tournament on Thursday, March 13, 2014, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

2. Bucky’s back: Dayton basketball legend Bucky Bockhorn begins 46th year calling Flyer games on the radio. That’s the longest tenure of any team analyst in the country, according to UD.

Bockhorn ranks ahead of Wyoming’s Kevin McKinney (38 years) and Wichita State’s Dave Dahl (37). Both of those analysts only work home games.

3. Legendary pair: Bockhorn and play-by-play man Larry Hansgen are working together on WHIO Radio for the 35th straight year. That’s the third-longest streak in the country behind Pittsburgh’s Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat (39 years) and Wichita State’s Mike Kennedy and Dahl (37).

Dayton against Ohio Dominican on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at UD Arena.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

4. Foreign flavor: Dayton has two European players on the roster at the same time for the first time in school history: redshirt freshman forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, of Greece, and freshman forward Matej Svoboda, of the Czech Republic. Both played in front of fans at UD Arena for the first time Saturday in a 79-61 victory.

5. And counting: This is the 110th season of Dayton basketball. The program’s all-time mark stands at 1,610-1,086 (.597).

Dayton ranks 41st in NCAA history in victories. It moved into the top 50 in winning percentage (.597) this season. It’s tied for 50th.

Dayton against Saint Louis on Feb. 14, 2017, at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.

6. Record hunt: Dayton won 102 games in the last four seasons, setting a school record for victories in a four-year span. To break that record — and give the senior class of Darrell Davis and Joey Gruden the distinction of being the winningest class in school history — Dayton will have to win 27 games this season.

The NCAA record for victories in a four-year span belongs to Duke (133-15, 1997-01).

7. Streak chase: Dayton split the Atlantic 10 Conference title with Virginia Commonwealth and St. Bonaventure in 2016 and won the title outright last season. The last A-10 team to win or share at least three regular-season titles in a row was Xavier, which won or shared five in a row from 2006-10.

8. March goals: Dayton has played in the NCAA tournament four straight years. That’s a school record. Dayton had never played in the big dance more than two straight years until this streak. Nineteen schools have played in the last four NCAA tournaments.

9. Last man: Only one person who sits on the Dayton bench has been there for each of the past four seasons: athletic trainer Mike Mulcahey. This is his fifth season with the program..

Anthony Grant: Postgame press conference after exhibition game

10. New coach: Anthony Grant is Dayton’s 20th head coach. A 20-win season would move him into 10th place in career wins.

Three of the last five Dayton head coaches went to the NCAA tournament in their first seasons. Don Donoher’s team was 22-7 and reached the Sweet 16 in 1965. Jim O’Brien was 22-10 and reached the second round in 1990. Brian Gregory was 24-9 in 2004 and lost in the first round.

Former Colts, Broncos, Falcons TE Jacob Tamme announces retirement

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 2:19 PM

After nine seasons in the NFL, tight end Jacob Tamme announced his retirement on Thanksgiving day.

The former Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons tight end has been a free agent all season but decided to call it quits on Thursday.

Originally a fourth-round pick of the Colts at the 2008 NFL Draft, Tamme spent four seasons in Indianapolis. While he was there, he had his best season as a professional in 2010 when he hauled in 67 receptions (a career-high) for 631 yards and 4 touchdowns (a career-high).

He then went on to follow legendary quarterback Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos, where he would spend three seasons. His first seasons in Denver was his best, catching 52 passes for 555 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Tamme then went on to spend two seasons with the Falcons, establishing a career-high for yardage in 2015 with 657 receiving yards on 59 catches. Tamme’s teams participated in two Super Bowls, but the Kentucky product never won a championship during his career.

The 32-year-old was an integrated strategic communications major in college and also received his MBA before entering the NFL. However, it’ll be interesting to see how he chooses to use that in retirement given that he earned just over $13.2 million during his playing career.

Texas Tech WR Keke Coutee among Earl Campbell Award semifinalists

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 2:17 PM

Keke Coutee’s outstanding season continues to earn him recognition.

The Texas Tech receiver is one of 10 semifinalists for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, which recognizes the best offensive player who was born in Texas, went to high school in Texas or attends a Texas University. In addition to being a Red Raider, Coutee went to Lufkin High School in Lufkin, Texas.

Coutee’s 1,074 receiving yards rank seventh in the country, while his 73 receptions are the ninth-most. Both marks are the second-best totals in the Big 12.

Coutee, who was also a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, is one of four receivers up for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. The junior is one of 12 receivers in the country with more than 1,000 receiving yards.

Coutee and the Red Raiders conclude the regular season Saturday against Texas. Texas Tech must win the game to become bowl eligible.

On the Beat: Michigan’s motivation is to beat Ohio State

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 2:16 PM

Around this time four years ago, much of college football was prepared to see a bloodbath unfold in Ann Arbor.

Michigan limped to a 2-3 record in the second half of the 2013 schedule, and entered the annual rivalry game against Ohio State as a 16 1/2-point favorite. Nobody gave the Wolverines a chance to beat Ohio State that year.

Instead, the game went down to the final play, and Michigan went for the win. Playing on a broken foot, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner sent two-point conversion pass to the corner of the end zone, intended for Drew Dileo. Ohio State’s Tyvis Powell intercepted Gardner to secure the 42-41 win.

Four years later, very few people give the Wolverines a chance to beat the Buckeyes. Michigan is a 12-point underdog for Saturday, and has yet to beat an opponent that is ranked or has a winning record. There isn’t a lot of faith in seeing a potential upset.

But no matter the records or how Michigan’s season has gone to this point, the Wolverines will dig down and find something extra when they play Ohio State. That could put Michigan in position to win.

This rivalry game means a lot — a lot more than many on the outside would value. Michigan has beaten Ohio State just twice in the last 15 years, and the fan base’s angst in regards to every loss to Ohio State continues to grow. To some, it’s a forgone conclusion the Buckeyes will head back to Columbus with another win in the series.

To others, this is a last chance for redemption. This game is even more meaningful to Michigan’s players. Especially Michigan’s seniors and fifth-year seniors, who don’t want to be the latest class to go four or five years without a win against Ohio State. That is becoming a dubious habit in Ann Arbor.

That, also, should be more than enough to ignite a competitive fire under the Wolverines.

On the Beat: How Iowa playing Black Friday football has become a tradition

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 2:16 PM

IOWA CITY, Iowa — In what seems like eons ago, Iowa played Minnesota almost every year to end Big Ten play, and the game always took place on Saturday.

There were some bone-chilling days like in 2010, when it was 14 degrees at TCF Bank Stadium for a late-afternoon kickoff. There were some warm nights like in 2008, when points were scored everywhere in the Metrodome. There were snow angels by Iowa receiver Danan Hughes, snowballs fired from the stands and memorable sendoffs.

When Nebraska joined the Big Ten, it took many of us aback to see the league paired up the Cornhuskers with the Hawkeyes to end the season. My first thought was: Wow, no more Iowa-Minnesota to end the season. The second was: Are the Hawkeyes and Huskers going to play on Black Friday?

Nebraska’s Black Friday tradition already had survived one realignment from when the Big Eight merged with the Southwest Conference to form the Big 12. The Cornhuskers played old rival Oklahoma on Black Friday from 1990 until 1996, when Colorado became the finale. Outside of Nebraska, Black Friday and the Blackshirts seemed almost as intertwined as Thanksgiving with the Detroit Lions.

Originally, Big Ten officials planned to keep the Iowa-Nebraska game on Saturday. Then both Nebraska and Iowa administrators lobbied for a move to Friday. The other Big Ten athletics directors approved the change, and the teams were set to play on Friday for only 2011 and 2012.

Iowa wanted to make sure fans received the move amicably before making it permanent. Although there have been complaints about work-schedule adjustments and Thanksgiving dinner alterations, the move largely has been a success for the Hawkeyes and their fans. For the first six editions, the Black Friday game aired on ABC. In 2015 when Iowa was gunning for a 12-0 regular season, that game became the most widely viewed Black Friday game on ABC in 10 years.

Black Friday is an exclusive viewing window in what Big Ten senior associate commissioner Mark Rudner calls “fertile territory” for games. Ohio State-Michigan overshadows any Big Ten game that airs on the final Saturday. It doesn’t matter if a divisional title is at stake in another game, Ohio State-Michigan is a bull in a pasture full of cows. It was great for Iowa to bend its season finale away from that Goliath.

The Iowa-Nebraska Black Friday tradition ends after the 2019 game. Nebraska’s former athletic director Shawn Eichorst wanted to shift the game to Saturday. Iowa balked, and the series now is slated for early November. In 2020 and 2021, the Hawkeyes will play Wisconsin in the finale and the Cornhuskers will face Minnesota. Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said he plans to talk with Wisconsin counterpart Barry Alvarez about moving that game to Friday. Eichorst backtracked on his previous statement and vowed to keep Black Friday before he was fired. It’s possible both games could air on Black Friday in the future.

On a day when half the country takes some form of vacation day, it makes sense for Iowa to continue the Black Friday tradition. It’s a nationally televised game on a near-exclusive stage. Maybe it hasn’t quite had the winner-take-all feel, but the games matter. It gets out of the Ohio State-Michigan shadow and more people see it. That’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.