Teams ‘grateful’ to compete in First Four

Big Tournament

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The First Four tips off Tuesday at Dayton’s UD Arena.  With four games in two days, the Miami Valley is getting an action-packed schedule of college basketball.

While some teams have already held a practice to prepare for tipoff, others like North Carolina Central just arrived Monday night.

The Eagles are making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance and are scheduled to play North Dakota State this Wednesday.

The team says they are thrilled to be in the Miami Valley to start their hopeful tournament run.

“It’s a surreal feeling to be here. I’m still at a loss for words, it still really hasn’t hit me yet. It’s our third year doing it in a row. It’s a blessing. We’re grateful, and it’s a wonderful feeling, honestly,” Raasean Davis.

Here’s a breakdown of the action you’ll see beginning Tuesday night:

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.  

Play in Dayton continues Wednesday night.  NCAA tournament action featuring the top 64 teams begins Thursday evening. 

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