1. Marching toward madness: The Wright State Raiders and Miami RedHawks men’s basketball teams step away from conference play for the BracketBusters on Saturday. Wright State (17-9) hosts Evansville (14-13) at 2 p.m. Miami (8-16) travels to Southern Illinois (11-15) for a 3:05 p.m. tip-off. The games are part of a 71-game BracketBuster schedule on Friday and Saturday that pit mid-major teams with NCAA tournament hopes against one another. Wright State’s lone meeting with Evansville came in 1976, an 85-75 Purple Aces’ win in the Division II tournament. Miami last met Southern Illinois in 1956, a 77-72 win by the RedHawks. As part of participating in BracketBusters — which will not continue after this season — the host team agrees to a road game at their opponent in November or December of next season.
2. Red (Scare) Alert: The Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team prepares for a late take-off Monday when it hosts Duquesne at 9 p.m. in a nationally televised game on the CBS Sports Network. UD is promoting a Red Out event and fans wearing red for women’s heart health get in for $1. As part of the Heart Health Awareness Game, free blood pressure screenings will be offered (8-9 p.m. on the south concourse), the American Heart Association will have information available and the first 700 fans receive a face stick featuring UD coach Jim Jabir. The Flyers will don pink game jerseys, which will be auctioned off at the end of the season for breast cancer research. UD (21-1 and 9-0 Atlantic 10), ranked No. 17 in the AP poll, joins Baylor, Notre Dame, Connecticut and Duke as the only Division I teams with only one loss. Duquesne is 19-5 and 8-2.
3. From Dayton to Daytona: NASCAR roars into action with the Daytona 500 on Sunday (1 p.m., Fox), capping off the Speedweeks. Among the undercard events is the ARCA Lucas Oil 200 at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. New Bremen’s Drew Charlson starts 17th on the grid. He finished second in the race last year making just his second ARCA start. Among the local connections to the Daytona 500 is Kay Keselowski, a Bethel High School graduate. Keselowski is the mother of defending Sprint Car champion Brad Keselowski.
4. Ice bandits: The Dayton Demonz are running away with the Federal Hockey League, holding a 40-point lead over second-place Danbury. The Demonz wrap up the regular season with a three-game homestand on Friday with Danville (7:35 p.m.), Saturday with 1000 Islands (7:35 p.m.) and Sunday with Danbury (4:05 p.m.).
5. Prepped for action: Boys and girls swimming and diving highlights the high school tournament trail as it hosts the state championships this weekend in Canton. Oakwood’s boys and girls teams are coming off team district titles, and the area offers numerous invidual champion hopefuls. Bowling, gymnastics and hockey are in district play. Boys basketball starts sectional play and the girls continue sectionals.