BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Miami coach Charlie Coles thinks the encore to the upset of Tennessee may be a tougher act than the UT game itself.
Miami takes on rival Dayton today at 4:07 p.m. at Millett Hall.
"This ain't no cakewalk," Coles said. "I know this is going to sound crazy and sound like coach talk, but, right now, Dayton is as good as Tennessee.
DAYTON at MIAMI
When: 4:07 p.m. today|
Where: Millett (9,200), Oxford
Records: MU 2-0, UD 2-0
TV: Miami Valley Cable UPN 44
Radio: WCKY-AM (1360), WMOH-AM (1450).
"Tennessee has all the hype, but Dayton is real good."
The Flyers will also come in extremely motivated.
The Flyers come to Millett on an eight-game losing streak against Miami, none of the eight more painful than last year's 93-86, double-overtime stunner at UD Arena. Wally Szczerbiak, Miami's All-American forward, scored a career-high 41 points.
"This will be one of our toughest games," Coles said. "They haven't beaten Miami in a long time."
Miami, of course, will be without point guard Rob Mestas. Mestas injured his knee against Tennessee and is expected to miss between four and six weeks.
"That's huge," Coles said.
Dayton was one of four games last year that Mestas played in and the one he had the most impact on. Mestas played the final 23 minutes against Dayton and engineered Miami's comeback from a 10-point deficit.
"With him, we have a chance to be a real good team," Coles said. "Without him, we're going to have to scrape like last year."
Anthony Taylor, who started all 29 games last year, will start for Mestas. Damon Frierson will take over at point guard.
Frierson is a very capable point guard. He led the team with 4.1 assists a game last year. He's just a different kind of player than Mestas.
"With Damon in there, you can't sag on anyone," Coles said. Frierson averaged 18.8 points a game last year and shot 34 percent from three-point range.
Dayton returns four starters from last year's 21-12 team that won the Atlantic 10 West Division.
Three of the four returnees - 6-7 Coby Turner (13.3), 6-4 Tony Stanley (13.1) and 6-9 Mark Ashman (11.7) - averaged in double figures a year ago.
Dayton has opened the season with home wins over Kent and Indiana-Purdue at Indianapolis.
The one weakness Miami showed against Tennessee was its inability to stop UT's big men from scoring in the paint. Miami used John Estick and Mike Ensminger, both 6-6, to defend UT's big men.
"That's a big concern," Coles said. "But we didn't play (Jay) Locklier much, and we didn't play (Rich) Allendorf at all."