Around the Miami Valley
1:45 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

March Madness Hits The Miami Valley Region

Basketball fans from around the country have their eyes fixed on Dayton, Ohio today and Wednesday as the city is playing host to the First Four opening round of the NCAA Men's basketball tournament.

The University of Dayton has held the opening round for the past 13 years and it generates millions of dollars for the Miami Valley economy.

2005 photo inside UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio.
Credit viperstick

Albany Mount St. Mary's, North Carolina State and Xavier held  practice at UD Arena on Monday and will play tonight. Cal Poly, Texas Southern, Tennessee and Iowa will practice today and then play tomorrow.

Fans from those school and around the area have jammed UD Arena and the Miami Valley to enjoy what has been dubbed March Madness.

Jack Geraghty made it in from Chicago to enjoy the First Four with his 10-year-old grandson Patrick Sableski. He says the event is worth the trip.

"It's a good experience, it's good, I enjoy it," he said.

Jack Geraghty with his grandson Patrick Sableski and son-in-law Matt Sableski.
Credit Wayne Baker
  10-year-old Patrick Sableski is already a student of the game and he says being able to see the players up close will make him a better player.

"I really like to watch the players that play my position, so I can see like how I can improve in my position," Sableski said.

Patrick's father, Matt Sableki, has been bringing his son to the practice sessions so they can have a chance to get a close look at big-time college hoops.

"My son and I have been doing this the past couple of years," Matt said. "We like just to come to this smaller atmosphere and get closer and have my son get autographs and just get an up close and personal look at a college basketball player."

UD officials say their contract to host the event ends after next year, but the bidding process for future First Fours will begin in a few months and they will be putting together a proposal to keep the games in Dayton.