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2014 NCAA Tournament Recap: Dayton Moves to Elite Eight with Domination of Stanford

Dayton used its bench depth to help put away fellow upstart Stanford and advance on to the Elite 8 in Memphis.

Streeter Lecka

Ladies and gentlemen, please buckle your seatbelts. This flight is going non-stop until...

We thought it would be Memphis. Maybe now, it can be Dallas?

The Dayton Flyers are still dancing, and of course, partying in the streets, after taking out Stanford, 82-72 in the Sweet 16.

That wasn't how this was supposed to happen. The Flyers should have been outmanned in the middle. They should have been taken down by the strength of the Stanford defense, and they should have had no answer for Chasson Randle.

But should've wasn't. The Flyers defied all that logic. They played like the better team from the opening tip -- which they also won -- and dominated the Cardinal from beginning to end.

Credit the guards that just kept rotating in against Stanford and stopping the opposing offense. They weren't intimidated, and they shot the ball like they had nothing to lose in this game. The Flyers were over 46 percent from 3-point range in the first half, and that just kept deflating the spirits of Stanford.

Once again it was Jordan Sibert doing most of the damage. The senior went 4-for-9 from deep and 7-for-12 overall for 18 points. Devin Oliver added 12 points and seven rebounds while helping to contain the inside.

It was amazing how well that the Flyers dealt with big man Stefan Nastic. The Cardinal center was constantly hounded inside, and was forced to the bench early with three fouls. But when he was in, he was the offense for Stanford, and the main reason why the Flyers didn't pull away earlier than they did.

Then Nastic made a big mental mistake picking up his fourth foul on a loose ball that he had no chance of getting. That sent him to the bench just as Stanford was getting back into the game against Dayton early in the second half, and just as he was starting to take control inside.

He was never the same again, and then was eliminated with five minutes remaining in the game and the Cardinal down just eight. Nastic could have been the difference. Instead, the Flyers made him a side note despite his 15 points.

The Dayton defense just totally shut down the rest of the Stanford team. They finished shooting just 37.9 percent from the field, and a paltry 23.8 percent from 3-point range. That wasn't going to beat a Dayton team that sank eight threes, including six in the first half, and shot 48.3 percent overall.

And let's not forget the unsung guys who did it again. Perhaps the Flyers need to adopt the Bench Mob nickname. I mean, did anyone expect it to be Kendall Pollard piling on? The freshman, who was most famous on CBS for being the former high school teammate of Jabari Parker, went 5-for-6 from the field and scored 12 points in just 14 minutes off the bench.

The bench outscored Stanford's pine jockeys 34-2, and it wasn't just Pollard. Every player that came into the game had some contribution tonight, even Alex Gavrilovic who was forced to play when Jalen Robinson, Devon Scott and Matt Kavanaugh got into foul trouble early in the game and the Flyers needed to avoid a massive issue inside.

They needed everyone and they got the total team effort, baffling the Cardinal defense in the process. Stanford throws the zone at them, and they just fire away from three. Stanford switches into a matchup set, and the Flyers take advantage by swinging the ball around at ease and getting the open man, or forcing the foul.

This was a team that used its bench a lot during the season and it paid off when it met one of the shallowest teams in the country. By the time the offense started possibly working for Stanford, they were either out of fouls or just totally gassed against the speedy Flyers.

Now either UCLA or Florida awaits this team which hasn't lost to any team by St. Joe's since the calendar turned to February. The Gators or Bruins better be ready.

This flight might be redirected to DFW.