- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Dayton has been a terrific supporter of the First Four event in Dayton and the opening round/play-in game since 2001. Now the Dayton community wants to prove to the NCAA it doesn’t want to give up the event. Dayton put together a financial commitment for a guaranteed sellout from the Dayton business community for the 2013 tournament. This is the last year of the current contract with the NCAA. The NCAA has essentially told the University of Dayton that it just wants to fill the seats. The NCAA will review a two-year proposal to keep the event in Dayton, and a 10-year proposal. The NCAA is expected to make a decision in the next six-to-eight weeks. This is the third year under the current First Four format of two sets of 16-seeded teams playing, and two sets bubble teams playing for a double-digit seed in the field. Dayton holds 13,000 fans. Two years ago, VCU made its historic run to the Final Four from the First Four in Dayton. The First Four in Dayton last year drew President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. This year’s First Four games will be March 19-20.
2. The ACC-Big Ten Challenge has now become a legitimate stress for teams working their way up the bottom of the ACC. I could sense it and hear it in the voices of Boston College’s Steve Donahue and Wake Forest’s Jeff Bzdelik. Donahue said on our ESPNU college basketball podcast that no one wants to be left out of the event. The ACC will take the top 12 RPI teams from the previous season and put those dozen in the event. That means two teams when the league goes to 14 teams next year, and three when it adds Notre Dame, will be left out of the challenge. Not getting a challenge game also means it will dent the non-conference schedule for that season. If a team fails to finish in the top 12, then it will have to come up with another quality game on the non-conference schedule. But Donahue said it best when he added that the ACC and Big Ten dominate the sport for two days, and being left out of the event will sting.
3. I have no problem with the CAA going after Davidson and Charleston and getting turned down by Davidson. The Colonial needed to go after the schools that fit the profile. There is no need to grab schools simply to reach a certain number. The only conference in that desperate a position is the WAC. The CAA needed a 10th team, but had to be judicious. The America East, which needs to replace Boston University, has to be just as selective.