I was born in Michigan, but I was raised a Buckeye fan. So I knew how to respond yesterday when someone in the small — but loud — crowd of scarlet and gray in UD Arena stood up and shouted, “O-H!”
The Ohio State basketball team didn’t have far to travel to play in the second round of the NCAA men’s Division I basketball tournament. In fact, they were able to practice on their home court Thursday morning before busing down to Dayton in the afternoon. They’re fans of UD’s arena, too. “When I was a [college] player, I had my greatest game ever in this building,” said Thad Matta, OSU head coach, in a press conference before his team’s open practice began.
UD Arena has hosted more NCAA tournament games than any other venue. “The atmosphere is great; I understand why they have this here,” said Omar Williams, a Dayton resident. “The facility is second to none.” Williams has been to the arena before, but not for an NCAA event. He brought the fourth grade AAU basketball team he coaches to watch Ohio State’s practice. “It’s great for the kids to learn what we’re teaching them … I’m excited for the kids to have this opportunity to see some guys here that they see on TV.”
By the way the fans stood up and sang the fight song as the Buckeyes walked onto the court for their practice, everyone was pretty excited to have that opportunity.
Watch 2-seed Ohio State take on 15-seed Iona at 7:15 p.m. and click the photo for more pictures from Thursday afternoon at UD Arena.