Location: Dayton, OH
Conference: Atlantic 10
Coach: Archie Miller
Record: 25-8 (13-5)
Kenpom ranking: 40
Good wins (Kenpom ranking): @ VCU (30) vs. Ole Miss (44) vs. Texas A&M (50)
Bad losses (Kenpom ranking): @ Duquesne (201) @ UMass (135) @ La Salle (101)
Tournament appearances: 16 (current streak: 2)
Best result: Runner-up (1967)
NBA alumni: Brian Roberts, Chris Johnson, Jim Paxson
Best name: Scoochie Smith
Famous alumni: Dan Patrick, Jon Gruden, Chuck Noll
It is a minor miracle that Archie Miller and his Flyers are in the NCAA Tournament. Forget last year's Sweet 16 team: This year's Flyers lost one big man to a knee injury, another to lasting concussion symptoms, another to academic ineligibility, and both their starting and backup centers after an alleged theft. That left them with six scholarship players, none taller than 6'6... and yet, they put together a resume good enough to dance. That's preposterous and wonderful.
Key player: Powerful Pierre
Dyshawn Pierre is a shooting guard playing "power forward." AHHHH! THAT SHOULD BE BAD! THAT SHOULD BE VERY BAD! But remarkably, he's adjusted very well to the role: He's 6'6, so he's not the tiniest, and he was never particularly gifted off the dribble, which is no longer a problem. He's ripping down 21.9 percent of defensive boards while he's on the floor -- that's 90th best amongst all players! Including real centers! He can still step out and hit threes, too.
Style of play: Flying to the line
There are obvious, enormous disadvantages to having no players taller than 6'6 -- the rim is 10 feet in the air!!!! -- but the Flyers realize that they probably play five players faster than your center, and this can get your center in foul trouble. Kendall Pollard is not a center by any means, but he's gotten good at using his speed to get past them and draw fouls.