7 things to know about the start of college basketball season

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

Amazing drone view of UD Arena interior renovation

The four-month journey to March Madness begins this weekend across the country. 

Here are seven things to know about the start of college basketball season! 

1. It’s a new era for Dayton Flyers basketball. 

Anthony Grant’s first real game as the head coach at his alma mater is tonight when Ball State comes to UD Arena, which will also have a new look

The Flyers will have a much different starting lineup and perhaps a new style of play. They were picked fifth in the Atlantic 10 and begin the season 103rd in the rankings after finishing 39th last year. 

2. Wright State is building on last year but with a different cast, too. 

Dayton native Mark Alstork transferred to Illinois after leading the Raiders in scoring during Scott Nagy’s first season as coach. 

WSU (201 in KenPom) will start the season at Loyola a bit short-handed, but there’s reason for fans to hope Nagy’s team can get hot down the stretch. 

READ MORE: Wright State preview

If the Raiders are playing their best basketball in late February, they could be dangerous in the Horizon League tournament. 

Oakland is the preseason HL favorite with Wright State picked fifth. 

3. Ohio State is starting over, too. 

Chris Holtmann is the head coach of the Buckeyes, replacing Thad Matta after 13 seasons. 

Holtmann inherited an interesting if flawed group that could finish in the top half of the Big Ten if a few things break right or near the bottom of the standings if they don’t. 

The Buckeyes begin the season 79th in KenPom after finishing 73rd last season. They are 12th in the Land of 10 preseason power poll and host Robert Morris tonight. 

4. Miami University has two new coaches. 

Dayton native Meg Duffy is a first-time head coach charged with reviving the Miami women’s basketball team. Her 12 letter-winners returning include Lauren Dickerson, the reigning MAC Freshman of the Year, and the team was picked to finish fourth in the MAC East

Jack Owens is the new man in charge of the men’s squad, which has eight newcomers and was picked to finish last in the MAC East

KenPom’s 294th-ranked team opens the season at Fordham. The RedHawks host Wright State on Tuesday night. 

5. Down south, it could be another big year. 

Cincinnati opens the year 11th in the KenPom rankings while Xavier is No. 26. 

The Bearcats are 12th in the preseason AP poll while the Musketeers are 17th. 

UC returns the top three scorers (Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington and Gary Clark) from a 30-win team and has not been this high in the preseason polls since opening No. 2 in 1999. 

Trevon Blueitt and J.P. Macura headline Xavier’s squad while 

6. Keep an eye on Vincent Edwards. 

Last year, the local product making national headlines was Franklin grad Luke Kennard. Since he left Duke for the NBA draft, who will it be this year? 

Vincent Edwards from Middletown is a good bet. The 6-foot-8 Purdue forward is on the Naismith Award watch list and according to his school is the only active player in the country with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists. He was a third-team All-Big Ten pick last season.  

7. Familiar faces fill the preseason rankings. 

Duke is No. 1 in both major polls after bringing in No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III. 

Michigan State is next followed by Arizona (a school caught up in the FBI’s investigation of illegal recruiting practices), Kansas and Kentucky. 

Wichita State, the team that knocked Dayton out of the NCAA tournament last season and a newcomer to the American Athletic Conference, is No. 7, while Bob Huggins’ latest West Virginia team is No. 11. 

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Dragons’ Marshall wins Midwest League All-Star Game with walk-off hit

Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 @ 11:26 PM

Dragons first baseman Montrell Marshall (right) greets manager Luis Bolivar. The Dragons defeated the visiting Lake County Captains 9-3 at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Wed., April 11, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Dragons first baseman Montrell Marshall (right) greets manager Luis Bolivar. The Dragons defeated the visiting Lake County Captains 9-3 at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Wed., April 11, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Montrell Marshall, of the Dayton Dragons, singled with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to score another Dragon, Stuart Fairchild, with the winning run Tuesday in the Midwest League All-Star Game.

The East Division beat the West Division 3-2 in Lansing, Mich. Marshall was named the game’s MVP, joining Jay Bruce (2006) as the only Dayton players to win the honor.

» RELATED: Dragons well represented in all-star game

Marshall, the Reds’ 12th-round pick in 2014, went 1-for-2. Fairchild went 0-for-2. Hendrik Clementina, of the Dragons, also went 0-for-2.

Dragons pitcher John Ghyzel retired all four batters he faced with two strikeouts and pitched a perfect 10th inning. Cory Thompson struck out the only batter he faced in the top of the ninth.

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Dayton offers scholarships to two more 2019 recruits

Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 @ 6:26 PM

Dayton Flyers: A look at 2018-19 roster

Two more 2019 recruits earned scholarship offers from the Dayton Flyers on Tuesday.

• Moulaye Sissoko is a 6-foot-10 center originally from Mali in West Africa. He attends Lincoln Academy in Atlanta. The school reported his offer on Twitter. Sissoko is a three-star prospect who ranks 288th in the class, according to Mississippi State, Penn State and South Carolina are among the other schools to offer him scholarships.

» RELATED: Casey Cathrall reflects on year with Dayton

• Lester Quinones, a 6-5 shooting guard at St. Benedicts Prep in Newark, N.J., also received an offer, according to Pat Lawless, of Quinones is a four-star recruit who ranks 69th in the class of 2019, according to Connecticut, Illinois and Providence are among the other schools recruiting him.

List of reported offers

» 2019 OFFERS: Tre WilliamsDontaie AllenMaceo AustinAndre GordonTyler Bertram Tyson EtienneJovan Blacksher Jr.Diante Smith Toumani CamaraKira LewisPrince Gillam and Ismael Cruz | Joshua Pierre-Louis

» 2020 OFFERS: Zeb JacksonSymir Torrence | Andre Curbelo  | Posh Alexander | Max Amadasun | Luke Kasubke

» 2021 OFFERS: Wesley Cardet | Franck Kepnang

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How successful was the Dayton Dragons’ first half?

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 3:07 PM

Fans take over during a 7th inning stretch in Peoria????€??™s 5-2 defeat of the Dragons

The Dayton Dragons wrapped up the first half of the Midwest League season with an 8-0 loss to West Michigan on Sunday

Let’s take a closer look at what’s been an up-and-down season so far for the Cincinnati Reds’ Single-A affiliate. 

1. After losing their last four games, the Dragons finished with a record 31-37. 

Dayton finished the first half in sixth place in the Eastern division, 15.5 games behind leader Bowling Green. 

This marks a major departure from last season when the Dragons streaked through the first half and had clinched a wildcard berth when it was over. 

2. Speaking of streaks, those have marked 2018 for Dayton. 

The Dragons opened the season on a three-game losing streak. 

Then they won their next nine only to lose eight in a row. 

After that came a six-game winning streak. 

Things leveled off to a certain extent after that, but there were still losing streaks of seven and eight games along with a five-game winning streak. 

3. Home sweet home? 

The Dragons were a league-worst 9-23 on the road in the first half. 

They posted a 22-14 mark in front of the fans at Fifth Third Field, however, and that might not come as much of a surprise for a roster that is pretty young. 

Speaking of youth... 

4. Jeter has notable name and game. 

Many of the preseason headlines were devoted to Hunter Greene, the 18-year-old pitching phenom with the triple-digit fastball who was the No. 2 pick in last year’s MLB draft

However, the best teenager on the team so far has been Jeter Downs. 

The infielder leads the team in hits (68) and stolen bases (18) while sharing the team lead in doubles (15) with Montrell Marshall. notes Downs, who turns 20 on July 27, has already put up some impressive power numbers compared to previous teenage Dragons

5. What about Greene, anyway? 

Hunter Greene made 12 starts in the first half and finished with a 5.53 ERA. That is the best it has been since he gave up seven runs in less than an inning during his third start. 

Green has allowed six runs and seven walks over 23.3 innings in his last five starts. He has struck out 27 while walking seven and allowing 20 hits. 

RELATED: Greene loses pitchers’ duel

He has gradually worked up his pitch count, throwing 86 his last time out, and shown that while he is raw, Reds fans have a lot to be excited about. 

Reds top pick strikes out eight hitters in three innings in first appearance in Dayton

6. Catcher impresses.  

One of Greene’s batterymates, Hendrick Clementina has been the team’s best hitter so far. 

A catcher acquired in the Tony Cingrani trade, Clementina is has a team-best .971 OPS and also leads the club in batting (.316), homers (nine) and RBIs (35). 

He is one of five teams to make the all-star team, joining outfielder Marshall, outfield Stuart Fairchild and pitchers Cory Thompson and John Ghyzel. 

7. Final verdict. 

Was this a successful first half for the Dragons? 

In record, obviously not. 

The Dragons had the worst on-base percentage in the Midwest League and finished 12th in runs scored. They also had the worst team ERA in the league. 

Development is the name of the game at this level, though, and a handful of the guys in Green look like keepers. 

That includes Greene, who appears to be on the right track after a rocky run in late April and early May

Was last season’s postseason appearance a freak occurrence? That remains to be seen, but at least fans at Fifth Third Field were more likely to see a win than a loss. 

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Romano, Votto lead Reds past Tigers

Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 @ 10:44 PM

Reds starter Sal Romano pitches against the Tigers on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Reds starter Sal Romano pitches against the Tigers on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

Sal Romano delivered one of his best starts of the season as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Detroit Tigers 9-5 in the opener of a two-game series Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.

Romano pitched seven scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and walked four. He struck out six.

» RELATED: Suarez playing like an all-star

Romano pitched a season-high eight innings in his previous start against the Royals in Kansas City, allowing one run on four hits June 12. In his last two starts, he has lowered his ERA from 6.23 to 5.18.

Joey Votto got the Reds on the board with a grand slam in the third. He shooed a bird away from the plate two pitches before the home run and then flapped his arms as he crossed home plate.

Tucker Barnhart drove in the Reds’ fifth run with a double in the fourth. Billy Hamilton hit a solo home run in the sixth. Adam Duvall drove in two runs with a bases-loaded double in the sixth to make it 8-0.

The Tigers didn’t get on the board until the ninth when Wandy Peralta allowed five earned earned runs on four hits without recording an out.

The Reds (27-45), who have won five of their last seven games, lead the all-time series against Detroit 12-11.

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