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Dayton's potential First Four home game

9/10/2010

Here's one thing yours truly didn't consider when discussing yesterday's First Four announcement: What if Dayton -- the school, not the city -- ends up in the opening round?

As it turns out, there are no wondrous solutions or hidden contingencies. According to ESPN reports and Andy Katz, if Dayton needs to play in Dayton, they'll play in Dayton:

According to the NCAA spokesperson David Worlock, the committee also took into consideration if Dayton were to be one of the last four at-large teams and determined it would be OK in that situation for the Flyers to be at home in the first round. The committee won't adjust the seed line to move Dayton out of the game if the Flyers fall to one of the last four teams.

The NCAA has typically been loathe to seed teams in situations that would have them play at home arenas; Syracuse might deserve the No. 1 seed in the East, but that doesn't mean they'll get to play at the Carrier Dome. Dayton, on the other hand, has a potential boon on its hands: It could play one of the most important games of its season not on a neutral floor, like everyone else, but on the very floor it calls home for the rest of the season. Screaming fans included.

This year, that's a genuine possibility. Dayton was a bubble team throughout the season in 2009-10, and most predict it'll be an NCAA-level team in 2010-11. There's a strong chance Dayton could be one of the last four at-large teams in 2010-11.

That should be plenty interesting, but that doesn't make it a big deal. Sure, it's a slight advantage. But it's just one game, and an opening round/play-in/First Four game at that. Like the First Four in general, a Dayton home love-in is not going to change the outcome of the tournament.

Anyway, I do feel bad for whatever team Dayton could hypothetically meet in the First Four. Dayton fans show up for Lehigh vs. Jackson State. Imagine how manic they'll be when the home team shows up.