All-time series: Dayton leads 2-1
Date: Friday, March 18
Time: 12:15 p.m. ET
Location: Scottrade Center (St. Louis, Missouri)
The biggest storyline of Friday's game vs. Dayton is the chance at redemption the Orange has. The Flyers are led by junior guard Charles Cooke, who averages 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Standing at 6-foot-5, Cooke is Dayton's second tallest starter behind Kendall Pollard, who stands at 6-foot-6. Syracuse has the option to go small for most of the game with Tyler Lydon, who will still have a significant height advantage down low.
A major question for the Orange heading into Friday's game is senior guard Trevor Cooney. After the Orange was announced as a 10-seed in the Midwest Region, he went on the record saying getting another chance at Dayton means more, as it should. The Flyers bounced the Orange from the 2014 NCAA Tournament, 55-53, in Buffalo. SU started the 2013-14 season 25-0, but was upset in the Round of 32.
The winner of Friday's game will play the winner of (2)Michigan State and (15)Middle Tennessee State in St. Louis.
Three things to watch:
1. Lydon or Coleman?: Depending on what Jim Boeheim wants to do, the Orange has a big decision to make. Dajuan Coleman finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds against Pittsburgh in the second round of the ACC Tournament. Tyler Lydon is the more offensive threat, but Coleman has been able to hold his own in the zone. With the rare size advantage Lydon possesses, he may be the better all-around option on Friday. The Orange can use his presence on both ends of the floor, possibly more so than Coleman.
2. Cooney or Howard? Coach Boeheim has another decision to make on Friday, and that is playing Trevor Cooney or Frank Howard more. Howard had the upper edge on Cooney in the ACC Tournament until his turnover late in the second half, but Trevor obviously played significant minutes all season for the Orange. If Cooney struggles early, we may see more of Howard than some expected. With that said, Cooney's ability to shoot from deep is always a threat, and his defense will always give him an edge on Howard.
3. Rebounding: The Orange has the significant size advantage and will need to utilize that come Friday. With Dayton's tallest starter standing at 6-foot-6, rebounding will be a big factor in SU's success. If Syracuse can pull of the "upset," they'll need to control the glass.