NCAA Tournament in fan’s backyard
In Dayton, Ohio, the fragrance of March is in the air, and some residents in Oakwood can feel it too.
Just up the hill from the University of Dayton campus is Oakwood, population 9,000, including Shannon Tucker. “I went to Ohio State and there was just something in the air on football game days,” she said. “You just feel it. And here, we get it up in Oakwood, too.”
As a mother of two boys living not far from UD Arena, Tucker chaperoned her sons and their friends to the open practice Monday, March 13. The basketball-loving group of six can be split in equal parts of second- and sixth-graders, also known as, the “littles and the middles.”
With candy-covered lips and hot dogs and nachos in hands, the boys discussed their predictions for the tournament. Will UD be playing Duke in the final round, or will Arizona be winning it all?
This was the group’s first trip to the practice session, but not the Tuckers’ first trip to the First Four. With the “little” not quite old enough to stay up past bedtime, Tucker takes her older son as her “date” to the games. This year, they will occupy two of the 13,000 arena seats for the fourth year in a row. UD Arena has opened March Madness since 2001.
Families can follow the fragrance to the final First Four open practice sessions Tuesday, March 14, from noon to 3 p.m at UD Arena. Sessions are free and open to the public. The opening game will begin March 14 at 6:40 p.m.