The NCAA tournament selection committee couldn’t have done Dayton Flyers senior Devin Oliver’s family a bigger favor.
Oliver’s parents, Kelvin and Amy, both attended Western Michigan, and the No. 14 seed Broncos play No. 3 seed Syracuse in the game immediately following Dayton and Ohio State’s matchup at 12:15 p.m.
Oliver grew up in Kalamazoo, Mich., the home of Western Michigan.
“Western recruited me out of high school,” Oliver said. “They’re five minutes down the road. I always give my parents grief about Western because it’s their alma mater. They both played there. But they’re excited. They said they’re happy to come and watch me play as well as their old school. So I’m happy for Western, too. Good to see a team out of Kalamazoo in the tournament.”
Western Michigan redshirt freshman Von Washington went to the same high school as Oliver, Kalamazoo Central. So did Yankees great Derek Jeter.
Close to home: Buffalo is a 2½-hour drive from Dayton Flyers sophomore forward Dyshawn Pierre’s hometown of Whitby, Ont. Pierre said his mom made hotel reservations in most of the cities hosting first-round games, but canceled them when the Flyers drew a second-round game at the First Niagara Center.
Pierre’s parents got to see him play at Saint Bonaventure in Olean, N.Y., also a relatively short drive from Whitby, and they’ve been to a few games in Dayton. This will be the closest he’s played to home this season.
“It’s going to be nice,” Pierre said, “but I’m not really focused on that.”
Brotherly love: Dayton Flyers coach Archie Miller’s brother Sean and his team, top-seeded Arizona, open the tournament Friday in San Diego against Weber State. Miller was an assistant coach in 2010-11 and helped recruit the current Arizona seniors.
“Obviously, I follow those guys a ton,” Miller said. “I’m very happy for those guys. I was sick to my stomach when Brandon (Ashley) broke his foot. I thought they had a chance to win the national championship. I thought they had a great way about them. Watching them respond to the injury over the last couple of weeks has been really good. I still think they have a chance to make a good run. I hope they to get a Final Four. They’ve earned it.”
Final four: Dayton Flyers freshman Scoochie Smith made it all the way to the final four on his first name alone. A writer on SBNation.com picked the bracket by picking the best name on each team and then advancing the best names through the bracket.
Scoochie beat Ohio State’s Marc Loving, then Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas, Eastern Kentucky’s Deverin Muff and UCLA’s Wannah Bail before losing to Iowa State’s Bubu Palo. The national name champion was N.C. State’s Cat Barber.
Practice time: About 2,000 kids from the Buffalo area watched the Dayton Flyers practice at noon Wednesday as part 0f an NCAA youth program. The Flyers were the first team to take the court for practice, so they were the only team to get so many cheers.
Ticket sales: UD Associate Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said the school sold out its allotment of 550 tickets. Dayton Flyers fans will be seated in sections 118 and 322 today.