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NCAA OK with Dayton playing in First Four at home
Question of the Day
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - In an effort to make it a fair contest, men’s teams can’t play on their home court during the NCAA tournament.
At least, that’s the goal. The Dayton Flyers could upset that plan.
Every March, the University of Dayton hosts the NCAA’s First Four, four games over two days which open the annual 68-team extravaganza.
Heading into the weekend, the Flyers are 19-9 and are 7-6 in the competitive Atlantic 10.
What would happen, when the selection committee starts seeding teams in 2½ weeks, if the Flyers fell into that part of the bracket? Home game?
“We don’t have a backup facility that we would go to,” said NCAA selection committee chair Ron Wellman. “So that would be the case.”
The other options are not workable. The selection committee won’t hold it against Dayton if it is in position for an at-large bid. Also, it wouldn’t be fair to bump the Flyers into the second-round solely to avoid the home-court problem.
Nope, should the tumblers fall correctly - or incorrectly, if you’re an opposing team - the Flyers would be playing before a partisan crowd if they got into a first-round game.
Dayton coach Archie Miller is not exactly banking on it, however.
“The goal of our program is to be in the tournament every year,” said the third-year Flyers coach. “Once you’re in, it feels like the greatest gift in the world. If they send you to Anchorage, Alaska, or send you to California, you’re just so excited to be in the tournament. That’s a big part of it.
“The fact that we do have the NCAA tournament here - it’s never really crossed our minds, like, ‘Hey, if we get in, hopefully we can play in Dayton.’”
Wellman said there are always partisan crowds in the NCAA tournament, even though teams haven’t been permitted to play on their home floor for more than 20 years. So it’s no big deal.
“We consider the location of the arena in proximity of the team all the time,” said Wellman, also the athletic director at Wake Forest. “There are always home crowds, more of one group of fans compared to another group in just about any arena that we play.”
Few know it, but the University of Dayton Arena has hosted more NCAA men’s tournament games than any other venue - 101 games, with Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium a distant second with 83.
It has been home to the First Four every year since it began in 2011. Before that, it hosted the one play-in game - which the NCAA called the Opening Round - from 2001 to 2010.
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