Next stop for Archie Miller: Memphis

The highlights are all there now, a crying and jubilant Morgan celebrating after Dayton won, an exultant Archie fist-pumping the Flyer faithful when he emerged after upsetting the Orange to do a radio hit courtside in Buffalo, N.Y.

But the road to success wasn't so much a straight climb up the ladder as it was a cross-country tour.

The undersized player, who became a stud shooter, turned into the grinder of a coach who, even at just 35, has the address book of a lifer.

Archie started out as an unpaid assistant at his alma mater, took a gig at  Western Kentucky, went back to NC State, moved to the desert at  Arizona State with his college coach, Herb Sendek, and then went back to the Midwest at Ohio State before another run in the desert, as Sean's associate head coach.

Morgan, his college sweetheart, took the tour with him.

"I'm from [North] Carolina, a basketball state, so I got it,'' she said. "And I trusted him. I knew some way he'd get it done.''

Finally, three years ago, Dayton finally called.

This week the school offered him an extension through the 2018-19 season.

"Somebody gives you a chance,'' Archie said. "Then you're around good people and they help develop you to be ready, hopefully.''

It's that hard-earned experience, coupled with a dad who didn't hand his boys anything more than a ball growing up, that has made Archie who he is and, in turn, made Dayton the team it is.

There are no superstars on the Flyers' roster. Two of their best players, Jordan Sibert and Vee Sanford, wound up at Dayton because their first stops -- Ohio State and  Georgetown, respectively -- didn't pan out. Second-leading scorer Devin Oliver came to Dayton by way of Kalamazoo, Mich., opting for the Flyers over his parents' alma mater,  Western Michigan.

Before he hit the critical free throws against Syracuse, Dyshawn Pierre was known more for his AAU teammates -- Andrew Wiggins and Ennis -- than his own game.

So maybe they came to college a little hungry, more anxious to prove their worth because they'd been undersold.

Their coach made them hungrier.

"You don't want somebody that just kind of goes through the motions,'' Sibert said. "You want somebody who has a fire for winning, just like you do. We see that every day at practice. We hear that every day in practice. We hear it loud and clear.''

Sibert grinned when he said the last part, and it's clear there is more respect and admiration than fear and loathing between the Flyers and their coach. They call him Arch or Archie more than coach, not as a sign of disrespect but of comfort and oneness.

This group has been through a lot. Three months ago, their season was on the brink, courtesy of a dismal 1-5 start in the Atlantic 10. The nadir came on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer against  Saint Joseph's, but instead of a team meeting in the locker room, there was a group pep talk.

The players hung around in the locker room, lingering longer than normal, and decided collectively that it was time they turned things around. Ten wins -- in 13 games -- later, the Flyers were in the tourney.

"It's definitely from Archie,'' Pierre said. "He brings that focus for us. He holds us together. When things weren't going well, he kept us together. He's tough, and I think that's why we're tough.''

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