Dayton controls its own destiny for a share of the Atlantic 10 regular season title after St. Bonaventure took down St. Joe's on Wednesday night. The Flyers are 13-4 in A-10 play and in a 3-way tie for second place with both the Bonnies and the Hawks. On Saturday Dayton finishes its regular season at home against VCU, which sits a game ahead of the pack at 14-3 and has already clinched a share of the regular season title.
Archie Miller's team controls its own destiny for a piece of the Atlantic 10 title despite losing three of its last five games. Before the recent slump, the Flyers were alone in the driver's seat in the conference at 11-1. The team's struggles started when starting forward Kendall Pollard suffered a deep knee bruise and missed four games.
While Dayton can still determine its future when it comes to the regular season title, the team's seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament will depend entirely on how the conference's other top teams fare on Saturday. The Flyers can still earn anything from a 1-seed to a 4-seed in the conference tournament. With a win, Dayton guarantees itself a top-3 seed in the A-10 tournament.
Even after its recent slump, Dayton can earn the 1-seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. To do so, the Flyers will obviously need to take out conference-leading VCU. From there, there are two ways for Dayton to get the top seed. If both St. Bonaventure and St. Joseph's loose, the Flyers will be the 1-seed by virtue of a 1-0 head to head advantage against VCU. If Dayton and St. Bonaventure win while St. Joseph's loses, Dayton gets the one seed because of a 2-1 head-to-head record against VCU and the Bonnies.
In a 3-way tie with VCU and St. Joseph's, the Flyers fall to the number two seed. All three teams would have 1-1 records head-to-head, so the next tiebreaker process would be used. After head-to-head records, the teams would be ranked based on how they fared against fourth place St. Bonaventure. Dayton's split with the St. Bonaventure would put it behind VCU, which won its only contest with the Bonnies, but ahead of St. Joseph's who went 0-for-2.
Given that both St. Bonaventure and St. Joseph's are playing opponents that are 5-12 in Atlantic 10 play, the most likely tiebreaker scenario that involves Dayton is a 4-way tie for first place. A 4-way tie would be resolved by comparing the teams' win percentages head-to-head. VCU, which somehow managed to avoid playing any of the other top teams in the A-10 twice, would finish first at 2-1. At 3-2 against the group, St. Bonaventure would be the 2-seed. Dayton would be third at 2-2, and St. Joe's fourth with a 1-3 record.
Of course, the way the Flyers are playing lately, a more likely scenario may be that VCU comes to UD Arena and ruins the team's Senior Day while the Bonnies and the Hawks handle their weak opponents. In that case, there's no way for Dayton to catch any of the other three and it would be the 4-seed.
The race for a piece of the Atlantic 10 regular season crown has become one of the more exciting conference finishes in college basketball this season. Despite being in seemingly solid position regarding NCAA Tournament consideration, Dayton's late struggles have put the team in a situation in which it needs some luck to win the top seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.