DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The eight teams in Dayton for the First Four are on a short week – they hope to make it longer with a win at UD Arena and a trip to the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Here’s who you’ll see in action the first part of the week:
No. 16 Farleigh Dickinson (20-13) vs. No. 16 Prairie View A&M, 6:40 p.m.
- Both mid-majors pulled upsets to get into the First Four by winning their conference tournament.
- Farleigh Dickinson is 0-5 lifetime in the NCAA tournament. It has appeared in the First Four before, but lost.
- Farleigh Dickinson’s alumni include Peggy Noonan (former speech writer for Ronald Reagan), Seth Greenberg (ESPN basketball analyst and former Virginia Tech coach) and Christine O’Donnell (former U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware).
- Prairie View A&M has made the NCAA tournament once – in 1998, losing by over 50 to Kansas. Prairie View alumni include TV star Loni Love, Zelmo Beaty (College Basketball Hall of Fame, played in both the NBA and ABA), and numerous NFL and MLB players.
- 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, much to the consternation of controversial Temple coach John Chaney, who called Dayton “the sticks.” A local fan presented a grateful Chaney with a straw hat when Temple came to town for the tournament. A power program in the 80s and 90s, that didn’t keep Chaney from threatening to kill John Calipari during a post-game press conference.
- Belmont has never won an NCAA tournament game, but has seven appearances since 2006.
- Former Miami Valley basketbal star Evan Bradds, Greeneview High School graduate and Jamestown native, 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.
No. 16 North Carolina Central (18-15) vs. No. 16 North Dakota State (18-5), 6:40 p.m.
- North Carolina Central squeaked past rival North Carolina A&T to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tourament 65-63.
- Former Bengal Richard Sligh played for North Carolina Central in football. Theree alumni were drafted into the NBA, David Young the most recent in 2004.
- North Dakota State had to hold off Western Illinois to win its Summit League title game.
- The Bison, a No. 12 seed in 2014, upset No. 5 Oklahoma 80-75 in overtime to advance to the third round. Out of three NCAA tournament appearances, that’s their only win. The NCC Eagles have made three appearances in a row and been to the First Four each time.
- 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.