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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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