Sunday March 13, 2011

Let's Go Dancing

A new chapter in the history of the NCAA Men's Division I Men's Basketball Championship begins Tuesday with the inaugural First Four.

The stage is set for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

The tournament begins Tuesday, March 15, at University of Dayton Arena with two games: No. 16-seed North Carolina-Asheville versus No. 16-seed Arkansas-Little Rock and 12th-seeded Clemson versus 12th-seeded Alabama-Birmingham.

Two more games wrap up the First Four at the University of Dayton Arena on Wednesday, March 16: No. 16-seed Texas-San Antonio versus No. 16-seed Alabama State and 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth versus 11th-seeded Southern California.

truTV will broadcast all four games. Game times are to be announced.

The University of Dayton Arena will make history with the first game when it sets a new record as host of more NCAA men's basketball tournament games than any other venue.

The First Four is part of a three-week flurry of basketball-related activities for the University and city of Dayton in March.

The University and city also will host an NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship regional and two basketball Hall-of-Fame greats, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton.

"This really is a chance to open the curtain to the area, show our assets and highlight the pride we have in our region," said Jim Leftwich, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition. "And we've found once people come here and see that, they generally want to come back."

Visit the related links for ticket and event information and updates.

Event organizers estimate the high-profile events will pump more than $7.5 million into the local economy.

The ball starts bouncing March 14 with the NBA's all-time leading scorer, Abdul-Jabbar, in a look back at basketball history at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 14. Along with other topics, he will discuss his documentary: On the Shoulders of Giants: The Story of the Greatest Basketball Team You Never Heard Of at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center as part of the University's Diversity Lecture Series.

Closing out the month, Walton will deliver a keynote address on leadership and achievement at the University's R.I.S.E. XI Global Investment Forum at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at the University of Dayton Arena.

Now in its 11th year, the R.I.SE. forum has brought thousands of finance professionals, students and faculty to Dayton, boosting the coffers of area hotels and restaurants. For ticket information, visit the related link or call 937-229-1444.

"Basketball experts have called UD Arena one of college basketball's best venues, and even said there's no better basketball town in the country than Dayton, Ohio," said Tim Wabler, University of Dayton vice president and director of athletics.

"These two basketball superstars are examples of what college athletics is about. They have achieved greatness on the court, but also have excelled in the classroom and in the community. That's what we emphasize to our student-athletes every day. It's an honor and very fitting that these two gentlemen are visiting one of the great places to watch basketball during a month that everyone is watching college basketball."

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or