Inside Look: 4 reasons why UD Arena is ready for the NCAA First Four

The Hoopla began on Monday evening at UD Arena when a gaggle of young basketball fans were the first spectators to arrive for the NCAA Tournament First Four practice sessions.

Several hundred more spectators eventually spread throughout the lower level seats to watch Mount Saint Mary’s, New Orleans, Kansas State and Wake Forest prepare for their journey to the end of the brackets. 

» RELATED: UD Arena the country’s top tournament host

The arena will host four games in the First Four round on Tuesday and Wednesday. We took an inside peek at the preparations on Monday, and here are four reasons the arena is ready to go:

Early arriving fans for the NCAA Tournament First Four at UD Arena received free t-shirts on Monday evening. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

1. Plenty of planning goes into the event. “We plan year-around. We’re already starting to plan for next year,” said UD’s Senior Director of Athletics and First Four Tournament Manager Scott Debolt. “We started over a week ago to set the arena up and just got the floor put in late Sunday morning. We transformed it in 24-hours.”

The floor looked very shiny and untouched on Monday.

MORE ON THE FIRST FOUR
» 5 things to know about Tuesday’s First Four games at UD Arena
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» Seven things to know about this year’s teams

The First Four begins at UD Arena! - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

2. Using all facilities available. “We’ve transformed a number of different rooms, like our loading dock, for player check-in,” Debolt added. The loading dock is now carpeted, too.

» RELATED: 5 reasons UD Arena is the perfect venue for a major game

New Orleans Basketball team enters the team check-in area which has been carpeted and converted from a loading dock at UD Arena. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

3. Testing, testing, testing. It takes days to set up the cameras and transmission lines to the satellite trucks inside and outside of UD Arena. Camera operators used the team practice sessions to work the bugs out of their equipment before game days. CBS photographer Jason Dutcher worked his camera on the floor as remote camera operator Rick Beattie set cameras above the backboards.

CBS photographer Jason Dutcher runs his camera before the practices started for the NCAA Tournament First Four at UD Arena on Monday night. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees
Rick Beattie checks his remotely mounted video camera before the practices started for the NCAA Tournament First Four at UD Arena on Monday night. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

4. Commitment from staff. The Knights of Columbus work as ushers at many UD Arena events. “They have been with the building since it opened back in 1969. They are our oldest employee partners and they were just honored recently for the amount of money they have raised for local Catholic charities.” Debolt said.

» EXTRA: UD Arena in history

Gates are removed from the ticked office before the NCAA Tournament First Four teams practice at UD Arena on Monday evening. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

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