DAYTON, Ohio — Dayton has hosted more NCAA men’s basketball tournament games than any other site.
A big part of it is because Dayton has been hosting the “First Four” since that part of the NCAA tourney originated in 2001. The city has had those games since 2011, and will try to get that extended to 2025 when the current contract is up in 2015. Dayton is close to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. And maybe no one else wants it, I don’t know.
Some people think Iowa’s cruelest NCAA loss was in the West regional final to UNLV in 1987. Or the debacle of a first-round loss to Northwestern State in 2006. But it may have been Jacksonville’s 104-103 win over the Hawkeyes in a 1970 regional semifinal. In Dayton. Jacksonville went on to the national-title game. Iowa had gone 14-0 in the Big Ten that year.
Nine years later, Iowa star guard Ronnie Lester messed up his knee in a nonconference game. In Dayton. Had Lester never hurt the knee, who’s to say Iowa wouldn’t have won the 1980 Final Four instead of losing in the semifinals to Louisville?
The University of Dayton Arena, where Iowa State plays Notre Dame Friday night in an NCAA second-round game at 8:45 p.m., Central time (that’s 9:45 p.m., Dayton time), opened in 1969. In this age of state-of-the-art arenas, this is a throw-back. The seating capacity is just 13,435. It was opened in 1969. It’s old-school. I think I like it.
As for the starting time of the Cyclones’ game Friday? I think I hate it. Thanks for nothing, NCAA.
Now, how about some random photos.
Then there was this press conference exchange with Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, whose team plays James Madison here Friday afternoon:
Q. Do you guys know who James Madison, the figure, is?
VICTOR OLADIPO: He signed the Declaration or something like that. You mean the person, right? James Madison, he signed something big, like the Declaration of Independence. I’m right, right? Emancipation Proclamation, something like that.
One of those big names. I know he’s a big historic figure in U.S. history.
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