The Basketball Tournament will return to UD Arena in 2022, TBT organizers announced Wednesday, and fans are guaranteed to get the chance to see the Dayton Flyers alumni team, the Red Scare, this time.
Last year, the Red Scare needed to win three games at Ohio State’s Covelli Center to advance to the quarterfinals of the $1 million winner-takes-all tournament at UD Arena, but it lost to Category 5, a team of University of Miami alums, in the second round.
In 2022, the Red Scare will be one of eight teams playing at UD Arena in the first round of the Dayton regional and could play as many as six games in Dayton if it reaches the championship. UD Arena will be a regional site from July 24-27 and will host three quarterfinal games on July 29-30, two semifinals on July 31 and the championship game on Aug. 2.
In all, 13 games in the 64-team event will be played at UD Arena. Seven games were played at the arena last summer, including the championship game, won by the Syracuse alumni team, Boeheim’s Army.
“The Red Scare fan base is one of the most passionate in TBT,” said TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar in a press release. “We wouldn’t be surprised if they challenge Wichita State’s attendance record in round one this year. University of Dayton was a great partner last year, and we’re excited to bring the championship back to UD Arena for a second consecutive year.”
Former Dayton walk-on Joey Gruden, who founded the team in 2019 with former teammate Jeremiah Bonsu, will coach the Red Scare for the third straight year.
“This is big time for us,” Gruden said.
Former Flyers Trey Landers, Ryan Mikesell and Darrell Davis have committed to play for the Red Scare. Landers and Mikesell have played the last two years. Davis has played the last three years.
“My teammates and I have always felt the love from the Dayton fan base wherever we’ve played in TBT, but the opportunity to play in UD Arena again is going to be really special for us,” said Mikesell in a press release. “TBT is a tremendous platform for us to relive great memories while creating new ones. I know that the Flyer Faithful will come out in full force to cheer us on just like when we were in school, and we’re hopeful that we’ll finally be able to hoist a TBT trophy in front of them.”
Gruden hopes the chance to play on their old home court will entice former Flyers who might be on the fence about playing.
“Surely we’ll get a couple guys who will want to play this year who haven’t done it in the past,” Gruden said. “Being at home is huge. We’d have the home-court advantage the whole way.”
The other regional sites are: Cincinnati; Syracuse, N.Y.; Charleston, W.Va.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Omaha, Neb.; and Wichita, Kan. An eighth site will be announced in the coming weeks.
The winner of the Omaha Regional will play the winner of the Wichita Regional on July 28, while the remaining six quarterfinalists will play in Dayton.
Teams can register for the tournament from April 1-June 15. The 64-team field and bracket will be announced in late June.
Gruden said he will start working on the roster in January. Convincing Mikesell, Landers and Davis to play was the easy part. They just want to play basketball, he said.
“When I told them the other day that we’re coming to arena, they were even more excited,” Gruden said.
Gruden appeared in 23 games from 2014-18 and enjoyed his most memorable moment on the court as a senior in 2018 when he made his only career 3-point field-goal attempt, a 3-pointer, in a 106-79 victory against Virginia Commonwealth. The atmosphere and the fans are what Gruden loved most about the arena.
“You’re so familiar with everything” said Gruden, who’s now coaching the Flyght Academy Prep basketball team in Dayton. “The locker rooms, the long tunnel down onto the court, it just brings back so many good memories.”
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