DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The NCAA basketball tournament’s First Four is right around the corner as Selection Sunday is just 4 days away.
The planning that goes into the First Four is a year-round process. In fact, planning is already underway for 2020.
Wednesday, the University of Dayton took out their floor and installed the First Four floor.
“We are taking out our University of Dayton floor this morning. Which takes about an hour or two hours. It takes us about 3 hours to put in the NCAA floor and then another full day for the hoops, the benches and media areas,” said Scott DeBolt, The First Four Tournament Manager.
DeBolt says it’s always easier to take something apart compared to putting it all back together.
However, the process isn’t anything new. UD has seen 121 tournament games, leading the country.
“One thing I can tell you is the crowd size is near capacity every year,” said DeBolt.
If you’ve seen the Flyers in action this season, you’ve seen the new renovations. All of which the NCAA suggested to UD to improve their chances of keeping the tournament tip-off in Dayton.
“Circulation on the east side of the building is the big improvement. It will help people movement. We have new concession stands and other food options. Including additional premium options with club seats on the east side,” said Debolt.
As the floor goes in, the Big Hoopla committee of 50 volunteers are hard at work.
“We ensure that the NCAA First Four games here at the arena are successful and sell out. And that the teams have an amazing experience when they arrive,” said Sarah Spees, a Big Hoopla Event Coordinator.
Selection Sunday is this weekend and the first game is on the 19th. Do the math. It’s a quick turn.
“They don’t sleep for 48-hours. They flush out the moment the announcement comes. Colors, logos, names,” said Spees.
The welcome party for the teams is important.The Big Hoopla wants Dayton to feel like home, where every team has the advantage.
“The logos and all of their names are spread all around the region. Welcoming them. Making sure they know we are the epicenter of basketball,” said Spees.
On Sunday the Big Hoopla will also host a 4-miler around UD Arena. Following the run there will be a stem fest and basketball skills competition at CJ High School. Winners will get tickets to the First Four.
You will need to register online for the above events. Click here for more information.