2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: Dayton Flyers vs. Florida Gators - Massive Value Edge to No. 1 Seed

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Dayton has won in every way you could imagine during the NCAA Tournament to reach the Elite 8. But have they finally run into an opponent that has no weakness? We go inside the numbers.

So Dayton has done everything to win this NCAA Tournament. The Flyers have won with guard depth, and tough shooting, and unheralded players coming through.

And in Thursday's game they won with all three of those, from the sixth man down to Kendall Pollard who scored 12 points off the bench against Stanford despite averaging just 2.3 this season.

We didn't think the numbers were in Dayton's favor Thursday night against the Cardinal as Stanford had the best starters on the floor, but the depth did them in as Stanford had nothing to being in off the bench when players were in foul trouble, or needed a breather.

Now looming is Florida, a team with none of those problems, a team that has depth and value through that depth, and no holes in the starting lineup that has had more success than any team still playing this season.

Here is a breakdown of the lineups using our friend HOOPWAR:

Pos.* Dayton Flyers HW30 Florida Gators HW30
PG Khari Price -1.74 Scottie Wilbekin 3.42
SG Jordan Sibert 1.86 Michael Frazier 1.97
SF Dyshawn Pierre 3.60 Casey Prather 4.09
PF Devin Oliver 5.76 Will Yeguete 0.23
C Matt Kavanaugh -0.88 Patric Young 3.01
6th Vee Sanford 1.84 Dorian Finney-Smith 3.92

*based on highest utilization

So does someone want to point out the weakest link in the Florida lineup? They may not have a player who scored as highly as Devin Oliver on the HW30 scale, but they also have four players with a value of 3.0 wins or greater.

And Will Yeguete? He is just a 0.23 HW30 player, but he is immediately replaced off the bench by Dorian Finney-Smith. The 6th man has more minutes than Yeguete and has been impressive, adding almost four wins over 30 games.

There is nowhere for the Flyers to attack here. They can't go at the middle, or the edges. They have to just figure out how to counter everything, which doesn't seem possible.

This is the first time all tournament that they will have needed to take on a team that is built like this, with no weakness, and with a ton of depth.

The Gators have seven players who have logged more than 100 minutes turning in HW30 scores on the plus side. The only player who has more than 300 minutes that was negative was DeVon Walker, who registered -1.01. The Flyers start a player who did worse than that.

Walker's biggest sin was that he wasn't an offensive player, and that is counteracted by the fact that he is normally playing with a bunch of scoring threats.

Florida is not a team to be trifled with.

So what can Dayton do to win this time? They need to focus on getting Devin Oliver the ball. Florida isn't going to be silly enough to try the zone to defeat Dayton, not after what they Flyers did against Stanford.

Dayton will need to work the ball inside and hope that Oliver can goad Yeguete, or more importantly Finney-Smith, into foul trouble. The Gators have a primary rotation of three players in the frontcourt, and if Dayton can eliminate one of them from the equation, perhaps the depth in the middle begins to make a difference. Jalen Robinson could be that player who becomes the X-factor in this one, much like Pollard was against the Cardinal.

This is a much steeper climb though, against a team that whose HOOPWAR numbers totaled more than 17 compared to Dayton's 7.5. Florida is a No. 1 seed for a reason, in much the same way that Dayton is an 11-seed.

Sadly, the difference between those two will likely show Saturday evening.

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