USA Today: ‘Dayton’s gym a tourney gem’

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The Flyers practice at UD Arena today. David Jablonski/Staff


Walking into UD Arena today, I noticed fresh mulch outside and carpet lining the typically-bare ramp leading from the loading dock area to the court, the ramp the players use to get to their locker room.

The arena always dresses up nicely for the NCAA tournament. This week, it adds to the record number of games it has hosted. The game Wednesday between Dayton and Boise will be the 109th.

USA Today featured UD Arena and the First Four today:

In 2000, the NCAA was looking to expand the tournament by one to 65 teams. As luck would have it, Dayton was hosting that year and during a site visit, Hancock floated the idea of UD also hosting a play-in game to start the tournament.

“We wanted a tournament quality experience for the athletes, and part of that tournament experience comes from playing in front of a large and appreciative crowd,” Hancock said. “And we just knew we would get that from Dayton, and we did.”

By that time, Dayton had already had 55 tournament games under its belt. What changed was the quick turnaround. The UD staff learns on Selection Sunday which teams are coming and must have everything ready for arrival the next day and a game on Tuesday.

“I truly don’t think there’s any place in the nation that could do that,” McCans said, who semiretired last year and serves as UD’s director of event services.


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