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Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 3:22 PM
— Upsets define the NCAA tournament.
Without them, it the next two weekends would probably be cool but not nearly as memorable.
Picking the right upsets — and avoiding the wrong ones — is a key to winning bracket pools, too.
That’s a shame because those are the hardest things to do.
Well, I can’t tell you which upsets to pick, but here are 10 matchups that caught my eye for one reason or another.
They are rated by likelihood with “1” meaning we don’t think it will happen, but it’s not out of the question and “5” meaning put it down in ink.
Davidson vs. Kentucky
John Calipari’s Wildcats are talented, as always. They also seem to be heating up at the right time, having won seven of their last eight games and the SEC tournament.
Davidson has won eight of nine, including two wins over Rhode Island, one of which got them into the Big Dance.
The 12th seed has a star senior forward in Peyton Aldridge and a star freshman guard in Kellan Grady.
They can really score but have a hard time defending while Kentucky is in KenPom’s top 25 in both.
Murray State vs. West Virginia
The Mountaineers come from perhaps the toughest league in the country, and they play a unique style that can be hard to prepare for.
They endured a cold stretch in the middle of the season but finished with a strong showing at the Big 12 tournament.
The Racers handle the ball well, but it’s tough to go against the experience of the Mountaineers — especially if big man Sagaba Konate avoids foul trouble and is able to patrol the paint.
SPORTS TODAY PM RT: More thoughts on #MarchMadness, 2 Reds hurt, Dayton loses a player, who's still alive in the high school basketball tournaments and Browns/Bengals moves/non-moves https://t.co/mv4QZnCz9b pic.twitter.com/LBPEBFQ6D0— daytonsports (@daytonsports) March 12, 2018
Texas Tech vs. Stephen F. Austin
The Red Raiders are one of the nation’s elite defenses, and they play at a pretty slow pace.
The Lumberjacks are also a defense-first team, but they want to play fast.
Which style will win out?
Montana vs. Michigan
The Grizzlies are good, and they have plenty of size to match up with a power-conference team.
Michigan was hot when last we saw them… but that was more than a week ago. Have they been resting or rusting?
Three-point defense is a big concern for Montana.
Marshall vs. Wichita State
The Thundering Herd are one of the feel-good stories of the tournament thanks to quirky coach Dan D’Antoni.
Wichita State has an elite offense but is just ordinary on defense.
Styles make fights, but I tend to like WSU’s experience edge here.
South Dakota State vs. Ohio State
This game immediately caught my eye because the power-conference team will be at a big NCAA tournament experience disadvantage.
These are two defense-first teams that revolve around a future NBA player.
Which one will be better Thursday, SDSU’s Mike Daum or Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop?
The Buckeyes should benefit from some time off, but how long will it take them to get into a rhythm offensively?
St. Bonaventure or UCLA (First Four) vs. Florida
Florida has some familiar names, and the Gators rank in the top 40 in offense and defense at KenPom.com.
The Bonnies and the Bruins are both offense-first teams who will have a chance to get into a groove with a First Four game.
Someone inevitably parlays a win in Dayton to one in the round of 64, too.
Knee-jerk reactions to the NCAA tournament field https://t.co/73B8Ft8kij— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) March 12, 2018
Loyola-Illinois vs. Miami (Fla.)
The balanced Hurricanes will be without one of their key players, injured guard Bruce Brown, and they only rank six spots ahead of the Ramblers in KenPom.com rankings anyway despite being seeded five spots higher.
Loyola has the No. 24 defense in the country and a solid offensive rating, too.
Wright State vs. Tennessee
The biggest challenge for the Raiders will be scoring enough points. They have the defense to keep it close and a big lineup for a small-conference team, so they don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed from that standpoint.
The Volunteers have four players who average at least nine points per game and can shoot the three. They foul a lot, though, and aren’t a great rebounding team.
Clemson vs. New Mexico State
The Aggies are no average mid-major. They are in the tournament for the fifth straight year, and they rank 14th in the country in defensive efficiency.
They also have a point guard from Dayton — Dunbar’s A.J. Harris — so we’re extra interested in this game.
Clemson is tough defensively, too, but the Tigers have lost five of their last eight games and will be missing No. 2 scorer Donte Grantham, who is out for the year with a knee injury.
Likelihood: 5Follow @marcushartman
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 11:48 PM
MIDDLETOWN — Middletown High School graduate Vincent Edwards was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 22nd pick in the second round of the NBA Draft on Thursday. He was the 52nd overall pick. The Utah Jazz traded the pick to the Rockets.
I’ll be a Huston Rocket this coming year! HTOWN!!!!! 🚀— Vincent M Edwards (@IB4T_12) June 22, 2018
According to reports, in the weeks leading up to the draft, Edwards worked out for the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, New York Knights and New Jersey Nets.
Edwards, a 6-foot-7 forward, scored 1,638 points in four seasons at Purdue. He made the All-Big Ten second team as a senior, averaging 14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He shot 47.6 percent from the field and made 39.8 percent of his 3-pointers.
Edwards is the son of Bill Edwards Sr., a Carlisle High School graduate who is the all-time leading scorer at Wright State (2,303 points). Edwards Sr. was undrafted but played in three games for the Philadelphia 76ers in 1994.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, four men born in Middletown have played in the NBA or ABA: Edwards Sr., Bill Hanzlik (Beloit Memorial High School in Wisconsin), Luke Kennard (Franklin High School) and Jerry Lucas.
The elder Edwards played three games for the Phoenix Suns in the 1993-94 season.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:08 PM
MIDDLETOWN — Middletown native Kayla Harrison won her professional mixed-martial arts debut Thursday night against Brittney Elkin, of Denver, in a Professional Fighters League 155-pound lightweight bout in Chicago.
Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalists in judo, got Elkin on the ground early and dominated the fight, finishing it off three minutes, 18 seconds into round one.
“Kayla Harrison golden in her debut,” the NBC Sports announcer said.
“She won every moment of that bout,” another announcer said.
The Professional Fighters League is a new MMA promotion that held its first event earlier this month. The Harrison-Elkin fight was one of five on the main card.
Congratulations to this champion Kayla Harrison winning her MMA debut for PFLMMA Via Armbar In The first round!!!@Judo_Kayla @ProFightLeague #kaylaharrison #judokayla #profightersleague #pflmma #pfl #mma #wmma #mmanews #inthegirlscorner pic.twitter.com/oBE0rx1R9q— Kerry Stellar (@Stellar79) June 22, 2018
Harrison is following in the footsteps of former training partner Ronda Rousey, who was also a well-known judoka before she became an MMA superstar in the UFC.
“Ronda is always going to be, I think, that little ‘rabbit’ in front of me,” Harrison said via MMAJunkie.com. “When I was 16 and I moved to (coach Jimmy) Pedro’s, she was the superstar. She was the golden girl. She was the one everyone was watching. Every day, I said to myself, ‘I’m going to be her some day. I’m going to be better than her. Anything she can do, I can do better.’ It helped take me to the highest levels of my sport.
“So I don’t see this being any different. It’s positive motivation for me. It’s healthy. I think it’s always healthy to have something to chase, something to look forward to.”
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:04 AM
DAYTON — A 28-year drought ended for the Dayton Flyers on Thursday as the Dallas Mavericks selected Kostas Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-10 forward, with the 30th and last pick of the second round in the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was the 60th player chosen overall.
» RELATED: Anthony Grant talks about Dayton’s offseason
Antetokounmpo, 20, is the first Dayton player drafted since Negele Knight in 1990. The Phoenix Suns drafted Knight in the second round.
Dayton had 38 players drafted between 1952 and 1990. Twenty Flyers have played in the NBA, including four undrafted players (Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, Brian Roberts and Charles Cooke) since Knight was drafted.
Antetokounmpo seeks to become the third member of his family to play in the NBA. His brother Giannis Antetokounmpo, 23, was the 15th pick of the first round in 2013 and now is one of the top players in the league. He averaged 26.9 points per game last season for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo, 25, played in two games in 2016 for the New York Knicks. He was a second-round pick in 2014.
The 6-foot-10 Antetokounmpo committed to Dayton in June 2016 but sat out his freshman season as a NCAA partial qualifier.
Antetokounmpo debuted in the 2017-18 season and averaged 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. He led the team with 31 blocks. He appeared in 29 of 32 games and started six games.
In late March, weeks after the end of a 14-17 season, Antetokounmpo left the program and the university.
“His mindset was he wants to test the waters to see what his prospects are for being in the NBA,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “And he felt it was in his best interest to leave school to do it. I’m not trying to judge his decision in terms of basketball, but the timing of his leaving did surprise me with just six weeks of school left.”
The #NBADraft is Thursday. Dayton could see a player (Kostas Antetokounmpo) drafted for the first time in 28 years. Here's the @daytondailynews front page on June 28, 1990, when Negele Knight was drafted with the fourth pick of the second round. pic.twitter.com/6Cay5oePXh— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) June 20, 2018
When Negele Knight was drafted in 1990, it ended a four-year #NBADraft drought for Dayton. Dave Colbert and Damon Goodwin were drafted in the fifth and seventh rounds in 1986. Here's the @daytondailynews story from June 18, 1986. pic.twitter.com/S8kL0zwMkc— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) June 21, 2018
Here's the @DaytonDailyNews coverage from June 26, 1979, the last time the Dayton Flyers had a first-round pick. The Portland Trail Blazers drafted Alter grad Jim Paxson 12th overall. pic.twitter.com/zwZ3wej7cA— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) June 21, 2018
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:03 PM
DAYTON — Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant returned to Dayton earlier this week after helping coach the United States U-18 team to gold in the FIBA Americas Championship.
Grant spoke on Thursday about his experiences at the tournament in Saint Catharines, Ont., and his thoughts on Dayton’s offseason.
Here’s a quick recap of the conversation. There will be more to follow this weekend.
On winning gold: “I had a blast. It was a fun group to work with. Coach (Danny) Manning and coach (Bill) Self were awesome, just really down-to-earth guys who did a really great job with the team. I told the guys, ‘To me, watching the way they came together within two and a half weeks, it was like a team that had been together for five or six months.’”
On spring workouts: “The first summer session was really for our returning players to continue the improvements and get better in the weight room. We used the time on the court for skill work and individual development.”
» LOCAL CONNECTIONS: Players to watch in NBA Draft
On upcoming second summer session: “All of our guys are here now. We’ve got all 11 scholarship players here. Obviously, we’ve had some transition with our strength coach and with one of the assistant coaches (Casey Cathrall and James Kane leaving the program), so now it’s a matter of as we move forward not only the individual development in terms of skill but also introducing the new guys and returning guys to each other, trying to get them familiar with some of the basics of what we do offensively and defensively.”
On losing Kane and Cathrall: “Those guys were great pieces to our staff, and certainly — I speak on behalf of our players and our staff — we’ll miss them because they were great people first and foremost, and I think they did a great job, which created the opportunities that they felt were best for them at this stage in their careers. We wish them luck. We’ll move forward.”
On his impressions of newcomers: “They’re great kids. I think we’ve got a really good group. You’ve two freshmen coming in who will play (Dwayne Cohill and Frankie Policelli), and then Jhery (Matos), the junior college guy coming in, and the two transfers (Ibi Watson and Rodney Chatman). So we’ve got five new pieces, three of which will be eligible to play next year, but all five of them will have a strong impact on our team.”
» ATLANTIC 10 NEWS: Catching up on offseason news
On whether Dayton will add any players to the roster for the 2018-19 season: “I wouldn’t rule anything out. Obviously, you’re always keeping your eyes and ears open for what’s out there. we’ll see what happens.”
On Kostas Antetokounmpo’s draft chances Thursday: “We’ll get a chance to watch it, and hopefully he’ll have a good outcome for himself, whether that be the opportunity to hear his name called or just to get in a good situation where he has a great chance to make a roster and pursue his goals and dreams. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for both he and Darrell (Davis) that they get a good situation to pursue the chance to make money playing the game.”