The Dayton Flyers ruined a lot of NCAA Tournament brackets last season. They beat Ohio State in the opening round. They officially had bragging rights as the best team in the state of Ohio. They parlayed that victory into a run that led them to the Elite Eight.
Boise State come into this game with their heads held high. They won the Mountain West and they should probably have a better seed. They now have the unfortunate task of playing an NCAA Tournament at the true home of their opponent.
I know North Carolina and Duke have played in Greensboro and other venues near their campuses, but this has to be historic. I know Butler played the NCAA title game a few miles from their campus, but I don’t remember a team playing on their actual home court.
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Many people thought Boise State had résumé good enough to avoid a play-in game, but here they are in one. They were the regular season champions in the Mountain West. They have marquee wins over San Diego State and Colorado State (twice). The wins against CSU are marquee since they were deserving of an at-large bid.
The Dayton Flyers were Cinderellas last season after defeating Ohio State. The win was important because the Buckeyes have been dodging in-state schools in basketball for years. Dayton took the shot and made the most of it. They won two more games after that and lost to Florida in the Elite Eight. Can Dayton do it again?
Dayton is lucky that all the play-in games are held on their home court. It’s a nice advantage to have in case something like this were to happen. Boise State is a good team, but it’s hard enough to play in the NCAA Tournament, but to play in one as a true road team? That’s insane.
Prediction: Dayton Flyers
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.