Finally we have arrived. After the 2015 NCAA Tournament brackets were announced Sunday afternoon, everyone’s brains start churning out possibilities of who can upset whom and which team will reach the Final Four.
Although there is an endless amount of storylines of matchups, rivalries and future scenarios, all eyes are on the Kentucky Wildcats, who are trying to go undefeated through the regular season and NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers.
There’s only one day of rest in between selection Sunday and the first round of NCAA Tournament games. The tournament kicks off in Dayton, Ohio, where there are four play-in games in two days at UD Arena—with one of the teams involved having an important advantage over the other.
According to TiqIQ.com, an all sessions pass for two days at University of Dayton Arena costs $223. For just the two games on Tuesday, the average ticket price is $102.80 with a walk-in price of $89. For Wednesday’s action, an average ticket price of $120.58 with a walk-in price of $84.
The first play-in game is on Tuesday, March 17th between the Hampton Pirates and the Manhattan Jaspers. The Pirates were winners of the MEAC conference tournament, and have an evenly distributed offense with three starters averaging over 10 points per game. Hampton is the ninth team since 2000 to enter the tournament with a losing record—it is the fourth consecutive year this has happened.
Manhattan is making their second consecutive appearance under head coach Steve Masiello, both by virtue of winning the conference tournament. Forward Emmy Andujar, who averaged 16.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, leads the Jaspers in a high-tempo style of play that is easy on the eyes. Whoever wins this matchup will have the pleasure of facing Kentucky.
Following that game is the BYU Cougars against the Mississippi Rebels. Both teams were granted at-large bids from the WCC and the SEC respectively. The player to watch is BYU’s Tyler Haws, who is fourth in the NCAA in scoring, averaging 21.9 points per game.
March 18th will also have two games, including a matchup between the North Florida Ospreys and the Robert Morris Colonials. Winners of the NEC conference tournament, the Colonials are led by the sixth youngest coach in NCAA Division I basketball. The Ospreys have four starters averaging over 10 points a game, led by guard Dallas Moore with 15.9 points per game. The Ospreys have been in Division I for 10 seasons and is making their first NCAA Tournament appearance.
The final game involves Boise State Broncos and the Dayton Flyers. The Flyers were granted one of the final at-large bids, and were given a home game on top of that. Behind their home crowd, the Flyers will return most of the players from their Elite 8 run from a year ago. The Broncos have one of the best scorers in the country; guard Derrick Marks, who averages 19.6 points per game.
You can see the first minutes of the entire NCAA Tournament by using Hipmunk.com. Flights to Columbus, Ohio will have you an hour drive away from UD Arena.According to Hipmunk, hotels in Columbus start from $99 if you want to take in all four games in two days.
Dayton, Ohio will be the first celebration stop of an incredible NCAA Tournament. The first round of action will be a little taste of what’s to come in the upcoming days.