5 things to know about UD Arena's heart-thumping NCAA history


UD Arena has hosted 109 NCAA tournament games, by far the most of any venue. That means numerous moments of heartache, exhilaration and just plain fascination.

Heading into the latest edition of the First Four, on Tuesday and Wednesday at UD Arena, we looked at the particulars of those 109 games to find some key points of interest.

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DAVID ROBINSON HELPED PULL OFF ONE OF THE BIGGEST UPSETS IN TOURNEY HISTORY TO THAT POINT

In 1985, when the tournament field expanded from 53 to 64 teams, Navy made the field for the first time since 1960. Its sophomore center was David Robinson.

The 13th-seeded Midshipmen faced SEC champion LSU in the first round in Dayton, and the 78-55 throttling by Navy was one of the biggest first-round eye-opening victories in the tournament up to that time. Robinson finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds.

It was one of six upsets in UD Arena's NCAA tournament history that involved a team seeded at least seven places lower than its opponent winning. The others:

 

'A-TRAIN' AND 'A.C.' SPURRED A RECORD-SETTING SCORING DAY

Jacksonville's 1969-70 squad became the first in NCAA history to average at least 100 points for a full season. That scoring power came to UD Arena on a record-setting day.

Jacksonville's 109-96 victory against Western Kentucky and Notre Dame's 112-82 victory against Ohio University, both on March 7, 1970, are the two highest-scoring games in UD Arena's NCAA tournament history. Six players combined from the two games scored at least 24 points: Notre Dame's Austin Carr (61), Jacksonville's Artis Gilmore (30), Western Kentucky's Jim McDaniels (29), Ohio's John Canine (24), Notre Dame's Collis Jones (24) and Jacksonville's Rex Morgan (24).

The other highest-scoring games during UD Arena's NCAA tournament history:

 

KENTUCKY STOPPED UNDEFEATED INDIANA IN A REGIONAL FINAL, AND MRS. KNIGHT CRIED

The Indiana Hoosiers were undefeated at 31-0 for the 1975 regional final against Kentucky at UD Arena. Forty minutes later, IU's Kent Benson had scored 33 points but Kentucky's Mike Flynn had scored 22 and Kevin Grevey (brother of UD standout Norm Grevey) and Jimmy Dan Conner each added 17 as Kentucky won the regional title 92-90 in overtime.

Lexington Herald-Leader columnist John Clay has called the game one of the 10 best in the Kentucky-Indiana rivalry. As Clay wrote:

Guards Mike Flynn (9-for-13) and Jimmy Dan Conner (8-for-20) combined to make 17 of 33 shots as the Cats upset title favorite Indiana, while the TV cameras continually showed a crying Nancy Knight in the stands.

The game was one of three regional finals hosted by UD Arena. The others:

Also, here's a look at UD Arena's NCAA tournament games hosted by round:

UD Arena's NCAA tournament games by round

MARK AGUIRRE WALKED HOME AFTER 1 OF THE 7 SINGLE-POINT DECISIONS

In March 1981, Saint Joseph's pulled off a huge upset, 49-48 against top-ranked DePaul. DePaul star Mark Aguirre then took one of the most talked-about actions in UD's NCAA history.

From a 2013 Dayton Daily News article:

The Hawks scored on a last-second shot for a 49-48 victory, and DePaul’s Mark Aguirre grabbed the ball out of the net, ran through a hallway past the locker rooms and bolted up the ramp. He flung the ball across the parking lot and tore off his jersey and dropped it in a dumpster.

An embellished version of the story has become part of NCAA folklore with Aguirre supposedly having thrown the ball into the Miami River. Not true, says retired Dayton Daily News reporter Bucky Albers, who had the exclusive scoop.

He talked to a security guard, who had witnessed Aguirre’s antics, and followed the player and a chaperone as they walked the entire way to their downtown hotel, staying out of sight as he trailed them in his station wagon.

One-point losses sting. Here are the seven that have happened in UD Arena's NCAA tournament history:

 

KANSAS HAS BEEN UD'S MOST COMMON NCAA TOURNAMENT GUEST

The Kansas Jayhawks have made themselves at home quite nicely at UD Arena in eight NCAA tournament games, the most by any tournament visitor to the arena.

The Jayhawks are 7-1 in those eight games, which came in 1986, '92, '95 and 2001. Their average margin of victory in the seven wins has been 21.7 points.

But in 1992, Kansas became one of three No. 1 seeds to lose second-round games at UD Arena. After beating 16th-seeded Howard by 33 points in the first round, the Jayhawks were upset by UTEP, which advanced to the regional semifinals for the last time under coach Don Haskins.

The most common UD Arena guests for the NCAA tournament:

 

THE FULL LIST OF NCAA TOURNAMENT GAMES AT UD ARENA


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