Stanford plays Dayton on Thursday in the only matchup of double-digit seeds in the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 round. But Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said his team won't be lured into a false sense of confidence. Asked if the bracket is opening up after 11th-seeded Dayton took out No. 3 Syracuse 55-53, Dawkins cringed. "No, no, not at all. I've been in too many rodeos for that," he said. "They wouldn't be in this position if they weren't a heck of a basketball team." The 10th-seeded Cardinal (23-12) and Flyers (25-10) collide at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, and the winner will be just one step away from the Final Four. "I'm impressed with them," said Dawkins, who watched tape of the Atlantic-10 club on the team's flight home from St. Louis on Sunday night. "They definitely have a toughness about them," he continued. "They're very scrappy. Those kids make up for length with their activity and their effort." Only 0.4 percent of the 11 million entries in ESPN's tournament pool correctly predicted Stanford and Dayton would square off in the regional semifinals. But Flyers coach Archie Miller doesn't view either team as a Cinderella. He said Chasson Randle will be one of the best guards the Flyers have faced and noted the challenges created by Stanford's size on defense. Of his own team, winner in 12 of its past 14 games, Miller said, "We're one of the last 16. We belong." Cal understands the Flyers are legit. Dayton soundly beat the Bears 82-64 at the Maui Invitational. "We watched everybody there in person," said Cal assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb, referring to a Maui field that also included Syracuse, Gonzaga, Baylor and Arkansas. "And we felt like Dayton was the best team in that tournament." Gottlieb likes Stanford, especially its length on defense, which caused Kansas problems in the Cardinal's 60-57 victory Sunday. "They're hard to score on," he said. Stanford will have a size advantage, but Dayton's depth allows Miller to keep bringing scorers off the bench. Dayton's reserves totaled 52 points against Cal back on Nov. 27. Dayton has experience to match Stanford and enough 3-point shooters, Gottlieb said, and that when the Cardinal goes to the zone defense that gave KU fits, the Flyers may be less troubled. After all, Dayton just beat one of the nation's elite zone teams in Syracuse. "They're going to have a hard time with Dayton," Gottlieb said.
Stanford's Dawkins: Dayton has 'toughness about them'
San Jose Mercury News | Mar 25