Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team missed their chance to bring a title to the A-10 conference. The Flyers were set to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, all they had to do was win the A-10 conference tournament, which looked like a sure thing.
However, they never got the chance to even play a game in the conference tournament because it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after all the conference tournaments that had not been completed were canceled and the NCAA made the difficult decision to cancel March Madness.
This cancelation could not have happened at a worst time for the Flyers program.
The Flyers were prepared to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2017 and expected to compete for their first Final Four since 1967.
Dayton burst onto the scene early in the season when they gave Kansas all it could handle at the Maui Jim Invitational in November. Kansas won the matchup 90- 84.
The Flyers next and only other loss came in overtime to Colorado. They went on to finish A-10 games undefeated and firmly ranked in the top 5 before the season was cancelled.
With a record of 29-2, they were as big a threat as anyone to make it all the way to Atlanta and the final four.
However, now the attention turns to the 2021 season and the Flyers may not be as hot and powerful as they were in 2020.
The Flyers will have a few missing faces, but one is more notable than the rest. Obi Toppin, the 2020 National Player of the Year, declared for the NBA draft and will forgo his final two seasons at Dayton. Toppin was the key piece to the Flyers success in 2020 and with him no longer in the picture, the team will have big shoes to fill.
Toppin averaged 20 points per game and 7.5 rebounds on the year while shooting more than 60% from the field. Toppin led the team in points, rebounds and blocks per game.
The school will also lose their third leading scorer, Trey Landers, after he graduated. Landers averaged a little more than 10 points per game and nearly seven rebounds on better than 55% shooting.
Dayton will not be nearly as strong as they were in 2020, but Dayton is always a team that lingers around with the best no matter the talent on the roster.
With the team they had, there’s no doubt the Flyers missed their window to compete for a national title due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.