First Four tournament games kick off with Big Hoopla in Dayton

Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base practice the unfolding and placement of a large, garrison-size American flag at half court prior to the NCAA First Four Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michelle Gigante)
Caption
Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base practice the unfolding and placement of a large, garrison-size American flag at half court prior to the NCAA First Four Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michelle Gigante)

Mark your calendars to attend the Big Hoopla March 15, followed by the NCAA First Four Division I Men’s Basketball Championship games, March 17-18 in Dayton.

The Big Hoopla is a series of events for basketball fans to join the excitement before the upcoming tournament.

According to the Big Hoopla committee, Dayton, Ohio, remains the epicenter of college basketball because of the fans unwavering support.

“I couldn’t be prouder to lead a voluntary organization that supports our community and most especially, Wright-Patt Airmen, and their families,” said Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Volunteer Chairman Terry Slaybaugh. “It is an honor to show these hard-working individuals that our region respects their efforts and wants to give back to them. Seeing the enjoyment of our military heroes at these games is such a rewarding experience for me and our entire LOC organization.”

Explore Defense Health Agency helps personnel stay ‘MissionFit’

March 15 starts with the Big Hoopla Four Miler road race at Carillon Historical Park. Check-in and registration begin at 9 a.m. at the park’s main building, 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton. The race starts at 10 a.m. Pre-register at www.hoopla.run.

The Big Hoopla LOC is giving all Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employees a 20 percent military discount if they use promo code: WPAFB20.

All runners will receive a long-sleeved T-shirt and finisher medal. The 4-mile course will start and finish at the Carillon Historical Park and contains views of Dayton along the river, and participants will run past the newly transformed UD Arena. A post-race celebration will follow at Carillon.

The Big Hoopla STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Challenge at Chaminade-Julienne High School follows the race. This free basketball “hot-shot” and educational event is open to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Check-in will begin at noon with opening ceremony at 1 p.m. Pre-registration is encouraged and now open at www.daytonhoopla.com.

The challenge combines the excitement of March Madness with the power and education of STEM. Free pizza, Hoopla T-shirts, First Four basketball game tickets and many other prizes will be given away.

Hands on exhibits will be on site to engage students from regional and national partners including the Wright-Patterson Education & Outreach program, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Institute of Technology and the 88th Air Base Wing.

The Big Hoopla will host a free Family Celebration Festival March 15 on Fifth Street in Dayton’s Oregon Historic District. College basketball fans looking to share the excitement of the upcoming tournament can come to the Oregon District to enjoy a family-friendly event.

The festival will include:

• A viewing area to help fans keep up with the latest news in sporting events;

• Food and beverage specials;

• A basketball court to practice free throws, grab a pick-up game, and family 1-on-1 challenges;

• Family activities along Fifth Street;

• Hoopla Four Miler road race and Hoopla STEM Challenge award ceremonies.

Festival events will be held under a tent to ensure attendees are protected in the event of inclement weather.

Teams will have NCAA First Four open practices at the UD Arena from 5 to 8 p.m. March 16, and from noon to 3 p.m. March 17. Watch the teams practice at this free, public event. Parking is free.

The NCAA Division Men’s Basketball Championship First Four Games will be March 17-18 at the UD Arena. The games begin at 6:30 p.m. and 9:10 p.m. on both days (Tip-off times subject to change.)

Last year, the Big Hoopla ticket program donated more than 8,000 tickets to military members and their families to recognize and show their appreciation for the U.S. Air Force and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The tournament will feature the Wright-Patterson AFB Honor Guard, national anthem sung by a member of the Air Force Band of Flight, new recruit swearing-in ceremony and more.

For more information on pre-game events, visit www.daytonhoopla.com . For the latest updates on the 2020 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, visit NCAA.com.

Big Hoopla calendar

March 15: Hoopla Four Miler at Carillon Historical Park. Check-in and registration begins at 9 a.m., race begins at 10 a.m.

March 15: Hoopla STEM Challenge at Chaminade-Julienne High School, noon check-in, opening ceremony at 1p.m.

March 15: Family Celebration Festival at Dayton’s Oregon Historic District, 2-7 p.m.

March 16: NCAA First Four open practices at the UD Arena, 5-8 p.m. and March 17; noon-3 p.m.

March 17-18: NCAA Division Men’s Basketball Championship First Four Games at UD Arena at 6:30 p.m. and 9:10 p.m. (Tip-off times subject to change.)

About the Author