Broncos embracing Dayton; Dayton embracing NCAA Tournament
Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com
The Broncos are less than 24 hours away from their match-up with the La Salle Explorers.
61 games between the two programs all lead to Wednesday night's First Four game. Nerves may play a factor in the end result, but for what it's worth, Boise State coach Leon Rice is encouraging his team to embrace the NCAA Tournament experience.
"I want them to look around and feel the whole thing and experience it," said Rice. "We're a young team, and I want them to get used to playing in this thing. We've got ten freshman and sophomores, and the more you play in this, the more comfortable you are."
"I'm always excited to play," remarked Boise State star guard Derrick Marks. "It just feels like another game, except its on a bigger stage."
"It's just another game on a bigger platform. So as always, we're going to come ready to play," echoed Australian forward Anthony Drmic.
The "bigger platform" Drmic speaks of lies on the floor of the University of Dayton Arena, where all of the modern NCAA play-in games have been hosted.
Dayton has been hosting the First Four for 13 years, but it's still tough to move tickets to the event.
" We are kind of solo," laughed Jordan Lacey, a BSU rally squad member. "It's fast, the selection process... So we understand the timing."
The Boise State athletic department says it only sold 50-100 tickets to the Broncos' opening-round game.
"Dayton has been the host of round one since 2001," noted Tim O'Connell, the Executive Director of Dayton Arena. "It was kind of by happenstance. The NCAA came to us and said 'Hey, we have a new portion this year and you're close to Indianapolis, would you mind hosting it?'"
The rest is history.
Dayton has the First Four until 2015, and is hoping the NCAA approves its bid for a ten year extension.
As of this year, Dayton will have hosted more tournament games than any other site in the country.