Dayton preps to host First Four starting Tuesday

Big Tournament

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — You can’t get to March Madness until you’ve finished out the First Four. 

Thousands of fans are set to flood Dayton this week to check out the match-ups to determine who gets the final slots in the tournament.  Here’s the lineup:

  • On Tuesday, March 19th at 6:40 p.m. ET Fairleigh Dickinson and Prairie View A&M, the 16 seeds in the West region, will square off.
  • Also on Tuesday, 11 seeds in the East region Belmont and Temple will face off at 9:10 p.m. ET.
  • On Wednesday, March 20th at 6:40 p.m. ET North Carolina Central and North Dakota State, the 16 seeds in the East region, will square off.
  • Also on Wednesday, 11 seeds in the West region Arizona State and St. John’s will square off at 9:10 p.m. ET.

Businesses in the town are expected to get much busier beginning on Monday as teams and fans begin arriving in town.

“Dayton’s definitely a basketball town,” said Gary Fisher, co-owner of Hickory Bar-B-Q. “This city gets ramped up for the event.”

Fisher said business at his restuarant goes up as much as 20 percent when the tournament comes to town.  First Four basketball means big business on Dayton’s popular Brown Street and beyond. Officials say the games bring roughly $4.5 million in economic impact to the area ach year.

“We’re going to try to make sure that we’re fully staffed, although with this place, we’re pretty used to crazy rushes,” said Jay Kain, who works at Zombie Dogz, another eatery that is preparing for big crowds.

Kain said he believes First Four gives many people the opportunity to discover what the neighborhood and the rest of the Gem City have to offer.

“It’s big for Dayton in general,” Kain said. “It’s kind of putting this area on the national stage.”

Last year, more than 25,000 people attended the First Four games, according to organizers. One of those games reached a record high attendance of more than 12,700 people.

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