Flyer Fever Heats Up as University of Dayton Wins 18th Straight Game
On Friday the University of Dayton Flyers won their 18th straight game and the Atlantic 10 Conference regular season title. With just two games left before March Madness begins, the Flyers are now ranked third in the nation.
WYSO’s Jason Reynolds talked to fans around the UD campus...
It was 27 degrees outside UD Arena at game time, but Flyer Fever kept the fans warm. As they waited to get into the arena, the pep band started up an a capella version of the fight song.
Jackson Kramer watched the game from the student section. He says, after a year in which Dayton was hit by multiple tornadoes and traumatized by a mass shooting, basketball is more than a distraction. It’s a unifying force.
“It means a lot. It’s like the whole sense of community. It’s a way for the whole city to come together and rally around something,” Kramer says.
The Flyers are getting national attention now, too.
Lots of sports commentators think sophomore Obi Toppin will be a top pick in this year’s NBA draft, and this coming Saturday, ESPN’s College GameDay will broadcast live from UD Arena. That’s about as much exposure as a college basketball team can get.
The Flyers’ run has been good for local businesses, too.
Milano’s pizzeria on Brown Street near the UD campus was almost as loud as the arena. The bar was backed up, and every seat in the restaurant was full.
Hostess Sam Wolf says there’s always a crowd for basketball games, but “this year it’s been like no other. We have people waiting three hours before the game even starts.”
With Dayton in line for a #1 seed in the March Madness tournament, it looks like Flyer Fever is just heating up.