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Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Dayton Flyers Men's Basketball: a Q & A with Mid-Major Madness

Dayton made it to the Elite 8 last year and EMU didn't even make it out of the 2nd round of the CIT. Any chance of an upset?

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Alex: In our most recent power rankings, we had Eastern Michigan move up from #4 to #1. My ballot has them at #1, too. If you were to rank the MAC teams, what do you think your top 5 would look like?

Parks: I think I'd go in this order...Akron, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Western Michigan. I think Akron may be the most battle tested team this year and Toledo really impressed me in person at VCU. EMU has a nice record but they haven't anybody of note, they haven't played on the road, scheduling four non-Division I teams is a joke, and I'M STILL MAD about their streaming service from their tournament the other day. I hope my $11.95 goes a long way for that athletic department. Western Michigan and Bowling Green are off to a nice start but I really think this may be a three horse race.

Alex: No MAC teams made it in your Top 15 rankings over at MMM. Why's that?

Parks: Mainly, we hate the MAC. In all seriousness, who would you consider against the teams that are in the Top 15? Toledo was hanging around until their post VCU slip ups against Detroit and Oakland. Brandon Hickey, one of your own, didn't even give any MAC teams any voting love! A win Saturday for EMU might give them a little love.

Alex: Dayton, however, is ranked; they're tied for fourth with BYU. What makes them so good?

Parks: Dayton is just solid and their young players have really just stepped up this season. I think part of that was getting a lot of experience in the NCAA Tournament last year. Some of these guys are listed as sophomores, but they have a whole lot more experience under their belt than typical sophomores. Jordan Sibert and Dyshawn Pierre are the leaders and anchors for this squad and they are most definitely getting the job done this season.

Alex: The Flyers are coming off of a 4-point win over Miami. Why was it only 4 and not 34?

Parks: I guess I'll say it was on the road and the Flyers had a rough night from the line and from beyond the arc. The free throw struggles became glaring when Dayton had trouble making shots and Miami started fouling to try to get back into the game. Miami was then able to take and make threes to hang around with the Flyers. I'll also just chuck it up to good ole RedHawk spirit.

Alex: Jordan Sibert. Tell me about him.

Parks: Sibert is a 6'4 Ohio State transfer who has been quite the contributor for Archie Miller. He's averaging nearly 15 points and over 4 rebounds per game this season and is just a big, solid guard. He has been struggling from the field a bit this season but he's making people pay at the charity stripe. He's a good slasher, which seems to be a lost art nowadays.

Alex: Prediction?

Parks: I'll say Dayton 73-61. Why the 12 point disparity? Because that's how many dollars I feel EMU owes me!