Location, crowds help Dayton keep a grip on the First Four

When Texas Southern and North Carolina Central tipped off on the second night time of last yr’s First Four, the University of Dayton Area next to Interstate seventy five was nonetheless filling up with 12,732 spectators, the most important crowd within the eight-yr history of the NCAA Event play-in affair.

The world had “March Insanity” logos on the polished courtroom, nationwide TV, blaring pep bands and an enormous American flag unfurled by members of the army stationed at close by Wright-Patterson Air Drive Base for an undercard of groups from small, historically black schools — one among them with a dropping document — that not often see this type of hoopla. The place crackled with the power of an essential occasion.

“Top notch,” was how Mike Davis put it. Davis took Texas Southern to the First Four in 2014 and 2018 earlier than shifting on to teach at Detroit Mercy.

“At Texas Southern, as an alternative of being a 16th seed, I might relatively be in the First Four every year,” he stated. “You get there they usually meet you at the lodge, they’ve a band enjoying, they have refreshments for you. Even whenever you depart, they deal with you nice.”

The event, which takes place Tuesday and Wednesday, assures the town and the university a slice of the NCAA Event pie every year, no less than by way of 2022 when the present contract expires.

Dayton is the only metropolis to host play-in games because the NCAA introduced the concept in 2001. And with rising competition…

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