The fun starts before First Four

The “First Four” games for at-large teams in the 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament are Tuesday and Wednesday at the University of Dayton (UD) Arena. Other events celebrating the tournament start Sunday. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

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The “First Four” games for at-large teams in the 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament are Tuesday and Wednesday at the University of Dayton (UD) Arena. Other events celebrating the tournament start Sunday. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The annual “Big Dance” is coming to Dayton again.

But the fun starts tomorrow.

The First Four games for at-large teams in the 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament take place Tuesday and Wednesday at the University of Dayton Arena, but community events are scheduled this weekend.

“It’s just kind of our way to get the tournament kicked off,” said Eric Farrell, executive director of the “Big Hoopla” First Four local organizing committee.

Here’s what to know and where to go:

Hoopla four-miler: 

Registration starts at 9 a.m. Sunday in the Meyer Room of UD’s River Campus home, 1700 S. Patterson Blvd., Dayton.

The four-mile run starts at 10 a.m.

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Runners can expect a course starting and finishing at the River Campus. "The course includes multiple pieces of overall The Big Hoopla experience including America's No. 1 tournament host site, UD Arena. The course provides great views of historic Dayton landmarks," the Dayton Hoopla web site (DaytonHoopla.com) says.

Runners are asked to park in the R3 north lot on the Northeast side of the building. The Meyer Room is just inside the North entrance.

Big Hoopla STEM challenge:

Head to Chaminade-Julienne High School, 505 S. Ludlow St., Dayton, for science and basketball fun. It’s a free event for boys and girls, grades K-8.

Registration starts at noon and the event itself starts at 1 p.m. Sunday. You can also register at DaytonHoopla.com.

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More than 1,200 kids are expected at the STEM challenge, Farrell said.

Watch teams practice:

You can watch the first four teams warm-up from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday and noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday at UD Arena, just east of the Interstate 75 and South Edwin C. Moses Boulevard interchange. There will be a free T-shirt and concession voucher for the first 500 fans to show up.

That event is free and open to the public.

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The games:

The madness starts here. Tuesday and Wednesday, UD Arena. Tickets and info are at www.ncaa.com/tickets/basketball-men/d1

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