Over the past week, the Dayton Flyers and Saint Louis Billikens have moved in separate directions.
SLU showed impressively in a loss on the road at New Mexico, and the Flyers suffered a tough injury to their second-leading scorer and rebounder, Josh Benson.
So what should you watch for Wednesday night when the two teams collide for their first Atlantic 10 Conference test of the year?
First off, will UD's three-point prowess be on display? The Flyers attempt shots from behind the arc on over 70 percent of their offensive possessions. Without Benson, the Billikens may key more intently defensively on UD's deep shooters.
That's where Matt Kavanaugh comes in. The 6-foot-9 big man has his hands full trying to pick up the pieces left behind by the loss of Benson. Kavanaugh has contributed effectively in the paint thus far for UD, but will need to neutralize SLU's Brian Conklin. That task has proved quite difficult for every opponent on the Bills schedule this year.
In fact, opponents are shooting 46-for-81 against the Flyers in post-up situations, and we very well may see more of the same when Conklin inhabits the paint on Wednesday evening.
For SLU, outside of dealing with one of the toughest road environments in college basketball, they'll need to get shooting guard Kyle Cassity going offensively. After two early season double-digit performances, Cassity has scored just 10 points in his last five games combined. In that time, however, he has dished out 13 assists and committed just 1 turnover. Lead guard Kwamain Mitchell has been equally impressive, with 20 assists against just one turnover in his last four games.
Bottom Line: Kevin Dillard, Chris Johnson, and Josh Parker can really score the ball, but you'll likely see SLU's stingy defense clamp down on the Flyers and earn a victory for the visitors.
Prediction: Saint Louis 67, Dayton 62