By Tim Graham
Jordan Sibert can't deny his personal stake in Thursday's NCAA tournament game against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Sibert used to play with them. The junior guard transferred to Dayton in 2012 and sat out last season before leading the Flyers to the tournament.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hype about the game," Sibert said this morning in First Niagara Center. His Flyers will meet the Buckeyes here at 12:15 p.m. Thursday. "Playing against your friends and going against people you've grown up with is definitely something to be excited about.
"But at the end of the day, I want to win. Me and my teammates want to be considered winners. It's not about me. ... It's about the Dayton Flyers against Ohio State."
Sibert was an all-state player at Princeton High in Cincinnati and chose Ohio State over West Virginia and Tennessee. He played 24 games for Ohio State when they went to the Final Four in 2012, but he averaged only 11 minutes and three points a game.
Sibert transferred in search of more playing time, and there were no guarantees he ever would get the chance for some sort of payback.
The Buckeyes don't like to play in-state opponents because there's little benefit. If the Buckeyes win, then they were supposed to. If the Buckeyes lose, then they're embarrassed and recruiting leverage might slip.
Imagine Sibert's delight to see Dayton not only had made the tourney, but also would face Ohio State in the first round.
"Every transfer would love to go against their old school again," Sibert said.
After sitting out a redshirt transfer season, Sibert averages a team-high 12.5 points for Dayton's balanced offense. He's shooting 43.9 percent from three-point range, second in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
"Definitely a big chip on my shoulder," Sibert said. "I definitely want to go out there and play to the best of my ability, not do too much, whatever my team needs from me.
"I don't care if I score a lot or a little. At the end of the day, as long as we have a win on our side, that's all that matters to me."