I've returned to the Dayton area to take in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The play-in game is dead. Long live the play-in games.
The first game between #16 seed contenders University of Arkansas-Little Rock and the University of North Carolina-Asheville was easily the more entertaining of the two. Both teams scrapped to see who gets smashed by a #1 seed on Thursday, but they played energetically and as if they were excited to be there. There was a late shot made to send it into overtime, so it wasn't a bad start to the evening.
The second game between two of the last four teams to receive at-large bids should have been better. Clemson and the University of Alabama-Birmingham have higher caliber players and richer traditions. Maybe it was the late start--tip-off wasn't until almost 9:50 p.m.--but this game was mostly a dud. UAB's passing was terrible, and they dug a hole they never really could climb out of.
Since I didn't get out of the arena until midnight, I was glad I'd already arranged to stay in town overnight. (There are two more games I'm attending Wednesday night.) It's still going to be a crazy day trying to take care of whatever needs to be taken care of, getting home late Wednesday night/Thursday morning, and rising at the crack of dawn to catch a plane to New York City.
Busy times. Hopefully fun times too.