Monday March 16, 2009

Top Big Dance Floor

By the end of the weekend, no active site for the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament will be more prolific than the University of Dayton. Beyond bragging rights, the games will generate a $5 million economic impact on the region.

After this week, no venue currently used for the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championships will have hosted more contests than the University of Dayton Arena.

Beyond bragging rights, University officials say the upcoming games will have an economic impact of more than $5 million in the Dayton region.

"The Dayton community and the University of Dayton Arena are a winning combination when it comes to hosting college basketball tournaments," said Tim Wabler, University of Dayton vice president and director of athletics. "The feedback we get is what every tournament site wants to hear — there's great community support; the games look good on TV; and we provide the student-athletes and teams involved the highest-quality experience possible. We take great pride that the NCAA tournament is back in Dayton again this year and look forward to some great games at the Arena this week."

Starting with the opening-round game, held Tuesday between Southwestern Athletic Conference-champion Alabama State and Ohio Valley Conference-champion Morehead State, UD will host seven NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament games. That includes four first-round games on Friday, March 20, and two second-round games on Sunday, March 22.

By the end of the weekend, the University of Dayton Arena will have hosted 82 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament games, one more than the University of Utah's Huntsman Center and one less than the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium. The NCAA still uses the Huntsman Center. The Kansas City Municipal Auditorium hasn't hosted an NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament game since 1964.

Tickets are sold out for the first- and second-round games.

All eight NCAA men's basketball tournament opening-round games have been played at University of Dayton Arena

Besides the teams and their fans, nearly 175 U.S. media organizations are expected in Dayton. When the University last hosted the first and second rounds of the tournament in 2006, more than 500 media representatives, including CBS Sports, ESPN and Sports Illustrated, covered the games.

For all NCAA tournament games at the Arena, general public parking is available in Lot D, which has an entrance off Edwin C. Moses Boulevard. Parking in Lot D for the opening round game is $7. Parking in Lot D for each two-game session of the first and second rounds is $10. Only if Lot D is full will the University open the Delphi lot at Edwin C. Moses Boulevard and Cincinnati Street. That lot is across the interstate from the Arena, and parking there is free. If the Delphi lot is open, a shuttle will run from there to the Arena 90 minutes prior to tipoff of each session until an hour after the final game of the session.

While nine teams will experience March Madness in Dayton, the Dayton Flyers will get their fill at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. Dayton received an at-large bid and the No. 11-seed in the Midwest region. The 26-7 Flyers will take on the No. 6-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers Friday, March 20. West Virginia, out of the Big East Conference, is 23-11.

The Flyers last made the tournament in 2004 when they suffered a first-round loss to DePaul in double overtime.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of media relations, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.