DAYTON – The University of Dayton men’s basketball team will play the University of Memphis in the first round of the NIT, it was announced Sunday night. The Flyers and Tigers will meet on Saturday, March 20 at 12 noon ET in UNT Coliseum on the campus of the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.
Dayton is 14-9 this season, reaching the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 championship. Memphis enters the NIT 16-8, after making it to the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament.
Dayton has qualified for the post-season in the last three seasons since Anthony Grant took over as coach at his alma mater. The Flyers reached the NIT in 2019, were granted the A-10’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament when the A-10 championship was cancelled last year, and now the NIT in 2021.
The Flyers are led by two-time First Team All-Atlantic 10 selection and Memphis native Jalen Crutcher. Crutcher was the only A-10 player to finish in the top 10 in the A-10 in scoring and assists. The four-year starter at point guard was fourth in scoring (18.1 points per game) and sixth in assists (4.8 per game), as well as second in minutes (38.1 per game) in 2020-21.
Redshirt senior Ibi Watson was Third Team All-Atlantic 10. He was 10th in A-10 in scoring (15.8), fourth in minutes (37.1) and third in both 3-pt. FG% (.427, 61-143) and three-pointers per game (2.7). Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team selection Mustapha Amzil is third on the team in scoring (9.8) and second in rebounding (5.5).
This will be Dayton’s 26th NIT appearance, second only to St. John’s 30 NIT berths. The Flyers’ NIT lineage harkens back to the tournament’s heyday in the 1950’s. UD was the NIT runner-up five times in the 1950’s and won the championship in 1962 under Tom Blackburn, in 1968 under Don Donoher and in 2010 under Brian Gregory.
Saturday’s game with Memphis will be televised on ESPN. The winner will advance to the NIT quarterfinals against either Boise State or SMU on March 25.