Thursday September 9, 2010

Arena to Host NCAA First Four

Expanded March Madness begins with four games at University of Dayton Arena March 15 and 16. Tickets go on sale Oct. 1.

The Road to the Final Four will begin again at the University of Dayton Arena. The NCAA announced Thursday, Sept. 9, the University of Dayton Arena will be the site for the inaugural First Four games of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

The University of Dayton Arena will host the games on Tuesday, March 15, and Wednesday, March 16. Two games will feature four teams battling for two of the tournament's No. 16 seeds, while the other two games will pit the last four at-large teams selected to the field.

As part of the NCAA's television agreement with Turner Broadcasting and CBS, all four games will be nationally televised in primetime on Turner's truTV. Each night, one game will feature teams seeded 65-68 and another will involve at-large teams.

Pairings will be announced with the rest of the bracket on Selection Sunday, March 13. This will mark the first time the NCAA will reveal publicly the last teams selected to the tournament field.

All tickets for the NCAA First Four games will go on sale Oct. 1 through the NCAA website. Only all-session ticket packages will be on sale on Oct. 1. NCAA First Four ticket ordering will not be handled through the University of Dayton Arena Ticket Office. University of Dayton season ticketholders will have priority purchasing capability; information will be sent before Oct. 1. All-session ticket prices are $100 and $80.

"We're thrilled the NCAA men's basketball committee and staff have entrusted us with the inaugural First Four," University of Dayton Vice President and Director of Athletics Tim Wabler said.  "Just as when the Opening Round came to Dayton in 2001, we have the event this year, and will be highly considered for future years. We have the chance, as we did with the Opening Round, to make it our own by exceeding expectations and giving the participating teams' student-athletes and fans the best experience possible.

"This is an opportunity for our community to prove itself once again with a brand new event."

The NCAA has not made a decision on First Four game sites past 2011.

"We explored different options, including playing the first-round games at multiple sites or on one date, but we came to the conclusion that Dayton was best served to host all four games in 2011,"  Gene Smith,  director of athletics at The Ohio State University and chair of the Division I men's basketball committee said.

The tournament last expanded in 2001 to 65 teams and included an Opening Round game. Dayton hosted Opening Round games from 2001 to 2010.

The University of Dayton Arena has hosted NCAA tournament events in 24 of the 41 years since opening its doors for the 1969-70 season. The NCAA First Four games will make UD Arena the most-used tournament venue in NCAA history. To date, University of Dayton Arena has hosted 83 NCAA men's tournament games, tying with Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium.

The First Four is one of three NCAA tournament events at the University of Dayton Arena this year. The University will host a women's Division I volleyball regional Dec. 10-11, the First Four March 15-16 and a Division I women's basketball regional March 26-28.

For more information, contact Doug Hauschild at 937-229-4390.