Davidson head coach Bob McKillop has done an outstanding job this season despite losing a plethora of senior leadership from last year’s 20-win squad. In what was deemed a “rebuilding year” by many pundits, coach McKillop has taken last year’s shocking defeat to Western Carolina in the Southern Conference tournament and turned it into a positive. “I think there are all kinds of fuels, and I think one of the fuels we never use is misery about what we didn’t get,” McKillop said. “We never focus on regret. We focus more on resolve. We won 20-plus games, and for us to regret or lament that experience, we don’t waste energy doing that.”
Davidson takes the floor with an explosive offense that is averaging 82.3 points per game on 47.4% shooting from the field and 39.4% from beyond the arc. Even more impressive is the fact that the Wildcats are 8-0 SU and 4-1 ATS at home this season where they are averaging 86.1 points per game on 50.3% shooting from the floor and 45.2% from three-point territory. Overall, the Wildcats are 13.7 points per game better than average offensively, which will be a good test for a very good Dayton defense that is 8.9 points per game better than average (58.1 points per game to teams that would combine to average 67 points per game).
The heart and soul of Davidson’s offense is senior guard Tyler Kalinoski, who leads the team in scoring with 16.4 points per game. The backcourt is further enhanced by junior Brian Sullivan (10.6 points per game) and sophomore Jack Gibbs (15.8 points per game), who earned a spot on the Southern Conference all-freshman team last year. The most pleasant surprise has been the development of Jordan Barham (10.7 points per game), who provides much-needed size in what is a relatively small backcourt by Atlantic-10 standards.
Davidson’s frontcourt is anchored by returning junior Jake Belford, whose development has been pivotal to the Wildcats’ success this season. Coach McKillop has been thrilled with the performance of freshman Peyton Aldridge, who is fifth on the team in scoring with 10.1 points per game. The fact that Aldridge has been able to step into the rotation right away has been significant, and the 6’7″ forward is currently second on the team in rebounds with 5.3 per game. With the rapid growth of Barham, Belford and Aldridge, the 2014-2015 campaign is anything but a rebuilding year for the Wildcats in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
While Davidson’s defense has been slightly subpar this season (70.1 points per game to teams that would combine to average 68.1 points per game), the Wildcats have been excellent at home where they are limiting opponents to a mere 61.2 points per game on 40.3% shooting from the field and 23.9% from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Dayton is averaging just 65.6 points per game on the road, which is not good enough when facing Davidson within the friendly confines of Belk Arena.
Speaking of Belk Arena, the school is calling for its first official “Black Out” of the season as fans are being encouraged to wear black. From a technical standpoint, Davidson is 21-7 ATS in its last 28 games overall (10-3 ATS this season), including 8-1 ATS versus teams with a winning record, 5-1 ATS following a loss and 5-0 ATS at home versus teams with a win percentage exceeding .600. With Davidson standing at 32-15 ATS off a conference loss and 7-1 ATS as a favorite, take the Wildcats on the money line in tonight’s Atlantic 10 Conference clash and invest with confidence.