UD Arena on Tuesday. David Jablonski/Staff
The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.
Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.
I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.
No. 2: UD Arena
Young UD fans have a fascination with the sweater vests worn by the older fans at UD Arena. To me, it’s part of the charm and the tradition. The fans on Twitter sort of see it that way. They respect the vests (I think) and mock them at the same time.
I asked my Twitter followers today, “How many of you watch the games at home in sweater vests? Or is that only an Arena thing?”
“Definitely an arena thing,” UD fan Adam wrote. “My dad started wearing one last year. I fear it may be genetic. 27 years from now, I’m doomed.”
“My dad is 60 and tried to buy one at the bookstore last year,” UD fan Dan wrote. “I said neigh and got his (butt) a pullover. Small W.”
“I watch the games from home in a small red sweater vest and nothing else,” wrote the Kid From Lowes, who immediately is in the running for best and scariest Tweet of the Year.
Whatever they’re wearing, the fans in the seats at UD Arena are the key to Dayton’s success. You can find great coaches. You can recruit great players. You can’t will a fan base like UD’s into existence. The fans make the arena great, and the fans come because the arena is great even if the parking is a hassle.
My final piece in this countdown will salute the fans. I didn’t want to leave out UD Arena, of course. It’s obviously the best arena in the Atlantic 10. CoxHub.com ranked the arenas in 2014 and placed UD Arena No. 1.
While not the newest or most advanced facility in the league, UD Arena which opened in 1969 is still the best place to see a game in the A10. With great fans and atmosphere every single game (averaged 12K plus fans) there’s no question why the NCAA places its opening round games in Dayton every year. Dayton is 563-211 all time at UD Area. Like Fenway Park or Madison Square Garden, UD Arena is a must-see venue. The nostalgia is ever-present inside the building and Flyers fans are as loyal as they come.
UD Arena has hosted more NCAA tournament games than any other arena, 109 and counting. It would make a terrific place for an NCAA Tournament Museum.
Dayton averaged 12,726 fans last season. That was a small increase over the previous season (12,316). It ranked 24th in the nation in attendance and has ranked in the top 30 17 seasons in a row.
When the Flyers open the season Friday, they’ll put their 22-game home winning streak on the line. They can tie the school record with eight more wins at home. Their eight game is Dec. 30 against Arkansas.
“Very few places can put the amount of people we do in the seats game in and game out,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “The environment and the energy level has been picked up. Our students, in particular, over the last year and a half have really caught on. The success we’ve had has helped. There’s a buy-in from the students right now. When they’re there, there’s a different hype. I also think there’s an excitement surrounding what’s going on. Our fans are genuinely excited to watch us.”