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Dayton, Florida finding depth advantage undermined by frequent, lengthy timeouts

The Dayton Flyers walk off the floor after

The Dayton Flyers walk off the floor after defeating the Stanford Cardinal 82-72 in a regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the FedExForum on March 27, 2014 in Memphis, Tenn. Credit: Getty Images / Streeter Lecka

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Time out.

We could discuss how Dayton's notable depth might improve its chances against No. 1 Florida in Saturday night's NCAA South Regional final. Or whether Florida's fourth consecutive appearance among the tournament's Elite Eight (and being winless in the past three) adds any emotional baggage. Maybe a discussion of 11th-seeded Dayton's first appearance this late in the Big Dance since 1984.

There's plenty of time. At this stage of the college basketball season, the timeouts are long. And plentiful.

Before UCLA's 79-68 loss to Florida (35-2) on Thursday night, UCLA coach Steve Alford admitted "trying to find things to say in the huddle" with all that time.

With the expanded duration of timeouts in the postseason -- four media timeouts per half at 2 1/2 minutes apiece, plus up to five timeouts per game for each team -- St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli claimed before the tournament, "I got engaged in less time than the media timeouts. I don't know that much about basketball, and there's 2 1/2 minutes."

Dayton (26-10) has benefited enormously from playing up to 11 players for double-digit minutes, finding different headliners on different nights, and coach Archie Miller believes "our depth maybe can overwhelm you during a game.

"But the NCAA Tournament media timeouts, and the amount of time spent through full timeouts and whatnot, I'm not sure depth is an issue."

Halftimes, too, are longer -- 20 minutes instead of 15 -- in the tournament, and Florida coach Billy Donovan agreed that "it becomes difficult to wear down teams. There is a lot more rest time. It's different this time of year than during the regular season."

That probably is more daunting news for underdog Dayton, especially against Florida's smothering, pressing defense. Miller does figure his players are "fresh, and when you can have your seventh, eighth or ninth guy help you win a game, that's a lot better."

In Thursday's victory over Stanford, Dayton freshman Kendall Pollard, the ninth player used, scored 12 points and was a major factor. But Florida's seven-man rotation is unusually rich in skill and power, and intent on what senior center Patric Young repeatedly has called his team's "chasing greatness."

"When we talk about chasing greatness," Young said, "we're talking about the goal at hand, the opportunity of what we can achieve, what we set as our goals. In the moment, we can always chase greatness, whether it's being great on a possession, striving to be great a whole game, holding a team to our standard defensively."

And making the other team want to say, "Time out!"

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