First Four Good For Dayton Economy, But Fans Cry Foul
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.
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.
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.