It’s one month before Selection Sunday and the return of the First Four to Dayton, and Matt Farrell’s enthusiasm is growing.
“It’s going to be here before you know it,” said Farrell, a spokesman for the First Four Local Organizing Committee.
Dayton won’t know what eight teams it will host March 18-19 until the brackets are revealed March 16, but the committee has prepared a number of events around the four games.
Tickets are still available for the games, Farrell said, including lower-level seats and seats in the 300 level. For each ticket purchased in the lower arena at daytonhoopla.com/tickets, two tickets will be donated to students and Airmen at Wright-Patt.
“Another bidding cycle is coming up, and energy and atmosphere in the arena is going to be critical,” Farrell said. “It starts with butts in the seats.”
Hoopla begins with three events March 16:
• Third annual Hoopla Challenge: A free competition for students in grades K-8 is expected to draw 600 kids. There will be free pizza and T-shirts. More than $1,000 in iTunes gift cards, several hundred tickets to the First Four and 15 iPad Minis will be up for grabs in a hot-shot contest.
• Hoopla STEM Education Event: Kids can explore STEM exhibits, displays and demonstrations. Dayton Power & Light and the United States Air Force will have some of the featured exhibits. The event is free, but registration is highly encouraged. Register for this and the Hoopla Challenge at daytonhoopla.com/challenge.
• Third Annual Hoopla Four Miler: Key Sports will provide eletronic timing for this race. Cost is $30 or $25 for children 12 and under. Register at daytonhoopla.com/fourmiler.
Another part of Hoopla, on the days of the games, is the Hoopla Central VIP Lounge. Sponsors, NCAA representatives, visitors and event participants are invited to a high-end pregame sports lounge located one mile from UD Arena. Free transportation to the games is provided. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.