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First Four Good For Dayton Economy, But Fans Cry Foul

The UD Flyers hit the court at University of Dayton Arena Tuesday afternoon for practice.
Jerry Kenney
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The UD Flyers hit the court at University of Dayton Arena Tuesday afternoon for practice.

UPDATE: Dayton secured a 56-55 victory over Boise State Wednesday evening. The Flyers will head to Columbus Friday to play 6-seed Providence.

 

The First Four, the opening games of the NCAA men’s basketball playoffs, kick off at University of Dayton Arena Tuesday night. Dayton’s been the site for the opening March Madness games since 2001, and last year UD secured that role for Dayton through 2018. The local organizing committee says fans turn over millions to the economy each year.

The games are actually a sort of tie-breaker for teams that didn’t automatically make the cut for the playoffs, so some were quite unhappy to see the Dayton Flyers themselves placed in the First Four—Dayton will face Boise State Wednesday night around 9 p.m.

“We got screwed, there’s no doubt about it,” said Tony Triola, a fan and Kettering resident, speaking to WYSO during Tuesday’s open practice session.

Tony Triola of Kettering has been a UD Flyer fan since he came to attend the University of Dayton in 1966.
Credit Jerry Kenney
Tony Triola of Kettering has been a UD Flyer fan since he came to attend the University of Dayton in 1966.

 

The Flyers’ Wednesday home game does mean a bump in ticket sales, but fans have been crying foul. Still others think the arrangement—a home game for Dayton during the First Four—is unfair to Boise State.

Steven Easterling of Dayton thinks the team’s in a good position.

“Over the years Dayton has shown that they can deal with the big boys at the big level,” Easterling said.

Longtime Flyer fan Steven Easterling of Dayton and his son watch the flyer's first practice in the NCAA tournament
Credit Jerry Kenney
Longtime Flyer fan Steven Easterling of Dayton and his son watch the flyer's first practice in the NCAA tournament

Last year Dayton went to the final “Elite Eight” in the playoffs, a sort of Cinderella story that got the team and the city lots of attention.If the Flyers win Wednesday, they’ll head to Columbus for a Friday game against Providence.

 

Dayton Police say they’ll be out in force for Tuesday's St. Patrick's day and basketball revelry, and for whatever happens at Wednesday's Flyers game.