Q + A with Tom Blackburn

Here is a quick Q + A we did with Tom Blackburn of the Blackburn Review ahead of tomorrow's trip to the UD Arena. There is a lot of the same going on over at Dayton so far this year. Some big wins, some disappointing losses. At the end of the day, they'll finish somewhere off the bubble after flirting with it for a while. Since we already know how that heart wrenching story goes, we asked Blackburn to weigh in on the C7, the Barclay's Center and how a couple of newcomers are fairing in their first season in Dayton.

Yukudukes: There is a really good chance that this will be the last meeting between the Dukes and Flyers for the foreseeable future with the C7 poised to raid the A10. Make your case for and against Dayton joining the new basketball only league.

Tom Blackburn: The case for Dayton stems solely from their unwavering and inexplicable fan support. UD can pack ten thousand people into the Sweater Centre to watch the Flyers take on a group of children with smallpox. Honestly, that seems to be UD's only selling point outside of its status as a private, Catholic college.

On paper, there's plenty working against Dayton. A small TV market, not a lot of significant success in oh, ....the past 40-50 years, and the fact that the expansion plan hasn't been solidified as of yet. If the C7 only takes on 10 teams, UD seems like a rather long-shot, if the Catholics want to expand to 12, Dayton's chances become somewhat reasonable (let's say around 35-40%). I hope the members of the Catholic Cabal aren't reading this. (Editor's Note: Don't worry. They won't)

YD: Dayton got two fairly high profile transfers (Vee Sanford and Matt Derenbecker) who I thought had a chance to make an immediate impact and maybe even get the Flyers to the bubble. How much of an impact have these two had?

TB: Their impacts, like a pair of delicious testicles in running shorts, have been up and down. When sober and coherent, Derenbecker has the ability to hit a couple of wide-open three-pointers. At times, Sanford looks like UD's most talented offensive player. However, they are like any other newcomers, solid one day, dreadful the next.  Remember, there's a reason these two kids left their respective programs, and it wasn't because they felt like they weren't getting enough competition. 

YD: I remember you not liking the move of the A10 tournament to Brooklyn. Have you come around on it now that Butler and VCU are at the top of the bill?

TB: Still not completely sold on it. The tournament's success, as always, will depend on the performance of the two Philly programs, St. Joe's and Temple. If those two clubs can make it to the semis and/or beyond, the Barclay's Center won't appear too sparse to the naked eye. If they fall short of that mark, the Barclay's Center will look like the inside of a Barclay's bank on a Sunday.

My concern has always been the cost of attending the tournament for the league's better supported teams (UD, X, VCU, Butler, etc.) Obviously those fan bases would have to travel to NYC, as opposed to Jersey, where the costs for everything (hotel, food, travel, etc) will be significantly higher. I'd assume most fans would do a quick cost-benefit analysis and have second thoughts about attending at all. 

And if you think the A10 tournament will be lightly attended this year, just wait until X, Butler, UD, SLU, or whomever the C7 decide to snag, take their permanent leaves of absence.

YD: Prediction for tomorrow?

TB: Pain and whimsy. UD wins by 7.