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  #1  
Old 03-17-2010, 07:41 PM
Shoeless Shoeless is offline
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NCAA tournament: why is the play-in game always in Dayton?

First of all, I swear I asked this question once before about three or four years ago. But I did a search and couldn't find the thread, so I either imagined it or I asked it in someone else's thread. And if I did post the question I don't remember the answer, so I'll go ahead and ask it again.

Why is the play-in game for the NCAA tournament always played in Dayton? Why don't they play it in the same place that the winner would play their first round game? Logistically, it makes no sense to have two teams travel from who-knows-where (in this year's case, Pine Bluff AR and Rock Hill SC) to play one game in Ohio, and then have the winner haul ass to their first round site (in this case Jacksonville) for a game that they would likely lose anyway, but are now pretty much guaranteed to? (Due to travel, fatigue, etc.)

Also, how do they determine which #1 seed gets to play the play-in team? Why doesn't the #1 overall seed get the winner of the play-in game?
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  #2  
Old 03-17-2010, 08:08 PM
RetroVertigo RetroVertigo is offline
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Dayton really supports college basketball, and it helps the NCAA that there is in-place fanbase. Being in the A-10 with St. Louis U. I've seen a couple games against them, and their fans really travel well.

During the actual game both announcers mentioned that the arena is one of nicer ones around (despite its age).

As for the actual reason, I don't know, but I think these factors help.
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  #3  
Old 03-17-2010, 08:19 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Dayton is the place that dreams go to die.
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  #4  
Old 03-17-2010, 08:35 PM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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I wonder if any other sites even try to get that game.

I think I read they try to make the travel easy for the play in game winner, that's why they don't have to play the #1 overall seed.
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  #5  
Old 03-17-2010, 09:56 PM
Duke Duke is offline
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Our school played in the play-in game some years ago. At the time I seem to recall the athletics guys saying that there were a few advantages to Dayton, some of which were:

1. Dayton is pretty close to Indianapolis, home of the NCAA. I suppose Indy could host the game, but then they often host the Final Four, so the town wouldn't exactly be gunning to host the play-in game. Dayton obviously isn't going to be hosting the Final Four any time soon.

2. Dayton is fairly close to the geographic center of Division I schools. If you're going to minimize travel time for two random D-I schools, it's a good choice.

3. As RetroVertigo noted, Dayton is a great college basketball town. When our school played in the NIT the year before we played in Dayton, Dayton's pep band subbed for the band we didn't have and even played our fight song. And when we played in Dayton, a lot of their fans showed up to cheer us on. (BTW, we have our own pep band now.)

4. To be frank, Dayton's hotels and restaurants are cheap but good. When tygre lived in Springfield, IL and I lived here, we'd often meet up in Dayton. It actually wasn't a bad place to do so...Dayton has one of the best Spanish restaurants I know of in the US, and few other forgotten gems as well. The schools that usually play in the play-in game have small budgets, so that helps out. Even though the NCAA pays most of the way, there's always a bit they don't cover.

The big question, I suppose, is to ask why the NCAA just didn't assign the play-in game to one regional a year, and have an extra game in one of the eight first-and-second round sites. That, I don't know. With the "pod" system, they really could have put it just about anywhere in the country. Note that the play-in winner does not necessarily play the #1 overall seed, so they aren't locked in to one specific region.
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  #6  
Old 03-17-2010, 11:15 PM
notfrommensa notfrommensa is offline
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IIRC, the play-in game winner always plays their next game on a Friday. and fairly close to Dayton. Kansas is playing in Oklahoma City which are Thursday-Saturday games. Kentucky is also play on Thursday.

So Syracuse in Buffalo (403 mi) and Duke in Jacksonville (850 mi) were the choices. I guess Duke won because they were the #3 overall seed.

Speculation: I think the play-in game participants are told of their match-up well before the Sunday Selection Show.

Last edited by notfrommensa; 03-17-2010 at 11:16 PM..
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  #7  
Old 03-17-2010, 11:40 PM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke View Post
The big question, I suppose, is to ask why the NCAA just didn't assign the play-in game to one regional a year, and have an extra game in one of the eight first-and-second round sites. That, I don't know. With the "pod" system, they really could have put it just about anywhere in the country. Note that the play-in winner does not necessarily play the #1 overall seed, so they aren't locked in to one specific region.
My guess for this is that of the 8 1st/2nd round hosts, some, if not all, have other obligations for their arenas. I'm in Milwaukee, and they started getting the Bradley Center set-up yesterday (Tuesday) I believe. If that city then found out a Sunday (or even Saturday or sooner) that they've got an extra game to be played, then that means they've got to have the calendar cleared for even two more days. Plus, the hotels would have to set aside a couple more days for 2 schools which may or may not travel well, depending on location.

I agree that Dayton makes sense geographically. If it's as good for a low-budget city as stated above, then it really makes sense. Last year, it so happened that Louisville was the Midwest #1 seed and Dayton was a 1st/2nd round host, so Morehead St, which won the play-in game, stayed put and lost to Louisville a few days later. Dayton's hosting the 1st/2nd round again in a few years, and I assume the committee will hope that a #1 seed is from the Midwest.
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  #8  
Old 03-18-2010, 06:18 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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I think a better question is: why is the play-in game?
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  #9  
Old 03-18-2010, 06:42 AM
BlueOhio BlueOhio is offline
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As a Dayton native, I appreciate the nice comments in this thread (except for one anyway - icy glare at Shibboleth).

The most important reasons would be the ones already mentioned: facilities, fan base, geography. Those aren't trivial.

The fact that the NCAA can count on the play-in being smoothly run by the same folks every year is probably one less headache for them as well.

As for why there needs to be a play-in game.....that's a good question. But I do know that Dayton is happy (and grateful) to host the game.
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  #10  
Old 03-18-2010, 06:47 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Originally Posted by BlueOhio View Post
As a Dayton native, I appreciate the nice comments in this thread (except for one anyway - icy glare at Shibboleth).
Hehe. I always describe Dayton to people who haven't been there as "just like Cincinnati, without all of the glamor."

I assume it's a nice place to live and the people seem very friendly. Just not a spot I'd choose for a vacation.
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  #11  
Old 03-18-2010, 06:59 AM
BlueOhio BlueOhio is offline
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Aw we're used to the knocks.

http://www.averageandawesome.com/
The link above was developed to entice Google to test their super-fast optical systems in Dayton.
Some demographics and whatnot.
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  #12  
Old 03-18-2010, 07:40 AM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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Play in game was added because a new conference got an automatic bid and they did not want to take away any at large bids.
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  #13  
Old 03-18-2010, 11:17 AM
zamboniracer zamboniracer is offline
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Dayton Arena is always a busy place this time of year. It hosted the play-in game Tuesday, an NIT game on Wednesday and the 1st round of the Women's NCAA tourney this weekend. Not too shabby. (Of course, the Dayton folks would rather their men's team made the NCAAs and not the NIT.)
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  #14  
Old 03-18-2010, 11:48 AM
flurb flurb is offline
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Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
Play in game was added because a new conference got an automatic bid and they did not want to take away any at large bids.
Yep, when the Mountain West Conference was formed in 1999, it created another automatic bid for the winner of their conference tournament. Rather than do the logical thing and eliminate one of the at-large bids (thereby losing the money that the eighth ranked team in the Big East or some other middling major conference team would bring), the NCAA created the play in game so that two small conference teams can play each other for the right to be served up to a one seed.
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  #15  
Old 03-18-2010, 11:55 AM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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Great West has no auto bid now, they just became a BB league in 2008. I think they have to wait until 2013 to get their auto bid which means another play in game will be added - unless they go to 96 teams before that.
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  #16  
Old 03-18-2010, 01:44 PM
Shoeless Shoeless is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke View Post
Our school played in the play-in game some years ago.
I will assume that school wasn't Duke.

Yeah, I guess I didn't realize that the play-in game wasn't assigned to a particular region until Selection Sunday. From that point of view it makes perfect sense to have the play-in game at a regular site to avoid last minute booking headaches at the 1st/2nd round sites.

So, when the Great West eventually gets an automatic bid, does that mean that they'll probably have TWO play-in games at Dayton then?

(I really hope they don't expand the field to 96 teams. I like the tournament pretty much the way it is.)
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  #17  
Old 03-18-2010, 06:56 PM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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Originally Posted by Shoeless View Post
(I really hope they don't expand the field to 96 teams. I like the tournament pretty much the way it is.)
I'm generally against 96, too. But, I was thinking about it a few days ago, and if they made it so that the "Elite 8" all played in the last weekend, I could be for that.

Wk 1
Thur/Fri: Teams 33-96 play
Sat/Sun: Teams 1-32 enter the field

Wk 2
Thur/Fri: Round of 32
Sat/Sun: Sweet 16

Wk 3
Wed/Thur: Elite 8
Sat: Final 4
Championship Monday

I don't know how the NCAA is looking to do this, though. Would they have seeds 33-64 play a home game, and then the winners would move to the pod cities? That's a tight schedule for all those schools, and in many years, a bunch would be on spring break. Plus, this makes the last weekend even that much better. To win 3 games in 5/6 days means you really have to be the best. It also keeps the traditional Thursday start (and a few days for the brackets to be completed).
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