Know Your NCAA Tourney Stadium: Dayton Arena, Verizon Center
The NCAA Tournament is chock-full of excitement from the first tip off. That’s why, sometimes, one of the more important items of the madness is overlooked: the stadiums. Well, not here at TicketCity – we cherish the stadiums that hold the games we love.
So, starting today, we are giving an overview of all the stadiums that will be (kinda) featured in the NCAA tournament. Because without them, all of our brackets would be busted from the go.
University of Dayton Arena
For more than 40 years, the University of Dayton Arena has been one of the most consistently full venues in college basketball, so it’s no surprise that the building has been the home of all the opening round games of the NCAA Tournament since the change in format 10 years ago. Now, as the format expands once again to include four play-in games, the arena will once again play host to opening round games on March 15 and 16.
The arena opened in 1969 and has since been considered one of the best places to watch a college game. With an intimate setting that still manages to hold 13,455, the location gives the University of Dayton a distinct home court advantage. Though it has remained largely unchanged since its inception, the facility underwent some renovation in 2002 to include nicer amenities and improved disabled access.
The site has been the location of many historic events including the 2003 and 2004 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament and the first ever HDTV broadcast for ESPN in 2002. It has hosted 83 games in the NCAA Tournament – tying it with the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri, for the most ever.
Affectionately nicknamed the “Phone Booth,” the Verizon Center is a staple of downtown Washington, D.C. As the home of a number of professional and college teams including the Washington Wizards and Georgetown men’s basketball team, the venue can accommodate more than 20,000 spectators and will play host to the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament on March 17 and 19.
This marks the fifth time the Verizon Center has hosted NCAA Tournament games. In addition to first and second round games this year and in 1998, 2002 and 2008, it was the site of its own regional final in 2006, and it was there that one of the largest upsets in the tournament’s history took place.
In the 2006 regional final played at the arena, the 11th-seeded George Mason Patriots knocked off the juggernaut top-seeded UConn Huskies to complete their improbable run to the Final Four.
George Mason won 86-84 in an overtime thriller in front of a mostly pro-Patriot crowd that will live in the annals of college basketball history forever, along with the stunned face of UConn coach Jim Calhoun as Rashad Anderson’s game-winning three clanked off the rim at the buzzer.
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