UD Arena, of course, is place to be for the ‘First Four’ of March Madness

Pictured is DaRon Holmes II at the A-10 Tournament. Photo courtesy of Olivia Shirk for Flyer News.

Kyle Pehlman | Contributing Writer

The First Four is set to be held in Dayton once again this Tuesday and Wednesday, which has become a tradition for UD Arena since the inception of the “play in” to the NCAA Men’s Division I tournament.

Although the Flyers will begin their journey out west on Thursday, Flyer faithful can still catch some action at home with the First Four. 

Who will take the floor at UD Arena this week? Here’s a quick roundup from media reports:

The eight schools competing this year for a spot in the field of 64 are Wagner, Howard, Colorado State, Virginia, Grambling State, Montana State, Colorado and Boise State.

Tuesday Night Game 1: Wagner (16-15) is set to take on Howard (18-16) to determine the No. 16 seed in the West region. The winner gets No. 1-seed North Carolina on Thursday.

Wagner, out of the Northeast Conference, entered the First Four as the No. 6 seed in their conference tournament. They capped off their tournament run with a win over top-seeded Central Connecticut, where they will be making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2003. Howard made its way through the MEAC Conference as the No. 4 seed. This is their second NCAA tournament appearance in the past three years.

Tuesday Nightcap: The second game will feature Colorado State (24-10) and Virginia (23-10). This Mountain West and ACC showdown will determine who will face No. 7 seed Texas in the Midwest region.

Colorado State, one of six teams to come out of the Mountain West, made it all the way to the conference tournament final before losing to New Mexico, the No. 11 seed in the West region. Virginia’s path was nearly identical to Colorado State’s. The Cavaliers made it to the final of the ACC tournament before losing to a red-hot NC State team. Now both teams find themselves in the First Four with something to prove.

Wednesday Night: Another match up of No. 16 seed hopefuls features Grambling State (20-14) and Montana State (17-17). The winner gets No. 1-seed Purdue, in the Midwest region, on Friday.

Grambling State, from the SWAC, was the top seed in their conference tournament where they clinched their first NCAA tournament appearance in program history. Montana State, from the Big Sky, was the No. 5 seed in their conference tournament — they had been conference champions in each of the last two seasons. Despite this, their tournament victory had them back in the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in school history.

Wednesday Night Finale: The last First Four matchup for 2024 features two No. 10 seeds, Colorado (24-10) and Boise State (22-10). The winner will get the No. 7 seed in the South region, Florida, on Friday.

Colorado, yet another team to fall in their conference tournament championship game, comes out of the Pac-12. Boise State is the only repeat First Four team. They lost to La Salle in 2013 and Dayton in 2015.

“At least one First Four winner has gone on to advance to the round of 32 in every year but one,” according to the Dayton Daily News. 

How to Watch

WHO: truTV 

WHAT: The networks are offering exclusive coverage

WHEN: The broadcast begins at 6 p.m. ET, Tuesday and Wednesday

TIP: 6:40 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday for Game 1; Approx. 9:10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday for Game 2

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