This evening, THE ROAD STARTS HERE® in Dayton when Fairleigh Dickinson and Prairie View A&M meet.
The UD Arena is such a centerpiece for March Madness and college basketball that , THE ROAD STARTS HERE® is an official trademarked phrase.
The NCAA® First Four® started as a single play-in game between the tournament’s 64th and 65th seeded teams, Northwestern State and Winthrop. Northwestern State won, 71-67. The success of the first-ever Opening Round game was clear; attendance of nearly 7,000 with most fans having no tie to either school.
The Opening Round game remained in Dayton until 2011 when the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Committee expanded the tourney field once again, this time to 68 teams by creating the “First Four.”
UD Arena has hosted 105 NCAA Tournament games, more than any other venue in the country. The First Four has an estimated $4.5 million direct economic impact, according to Jacquelyn Powell, president of the Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Dayton will host the NCAA’s First Four through 2022, which means at least 12 more tournament games are already booked for UD Arena.
Here is the schedule for the games tonight and Wednesday:
No. 16 Farleigh Dickinson (20-13) vs. No. 16 Prairie View A&M, 6:40 p.m.
- Both mid-majors pulled upsets to reach the First Four by winning their respective conference tournaments.
- Farleigh Dickinson is 0-5 lifetime in the NCAA tournament. It has previously appeared in the First Four.
- Prairie View A&M has made the NCAA tournament once – in 1998, losing by more than 50 to Kansas.
- The winner will be play No. 1 seed Gonzaga on Thursday
No. 11 Belmont (26-5) vs. No. 11 Temple (23-9), 9:10 p.m.
- Belmont was upset in its conference tournament championship game, but made the field as an at-large bid.
- Temple was in the Atlantic-10 until 2013, and would make annual trips to Dayton, which hosted the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
- Belmont has never won an NCAA tournament game, but has seven appearances since 2006.
- Greeneview High School graduate and Jamestown native Evan Bradds, was a two-time honorable mention All-American at Belmont, where he played through 2017. He was Ohio Valley Conference player of the year as a junior and is now on Brad Stevens’ Boston Celtics coaching staff.
No. 16 North Carolina Central (18-15) vs. No. 16 North Dakota State (18-5), 6:40 p.m.
- North Carolina Central edged rival North Carolina A&T to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, 65-63.
- North Dakota State defeated Western Illinois to win its Summit League title game.
- As a No. 12 seed in 2014, NDU upset No. 5 Oklahoma 80-75 in overtime to advance to the third round.
- The NCC Eagles have made three appearances in a row and been to the First Four each time.
- The winner will play No. 1 overall seed Duke on Friday.
No. 11 Arizona State (22-10) vs. No. 11 St. John’s (21-12), 9:10 p.m.
- Arizona State lost in the First Four last year. It hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game since 2009.
- St. John’s is coached by former 1992 USA Olympic basketball Dream Team member Chris Mullin. Arizona State is coached by former Duke superstar guard Bobby Hurley.
- The winner plays No. 6 Buffalo on Friday.