How To Get To Dayton (And Get In) For The First Four

Mar 8, 2012; New York, NY, USA; South Florida Bulls mascot performs during the first half of the third round against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Big East Tournament held at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

So you want to see USF's first NCAA Tournament game in 20 years? We understand it's really tough to get to a place like Dayton, Ohio, on short notice. And we can't all book our tickets months in advance like Les Nessman.

So let's all work together and figure this out.

TICKETS: Getting tickets from USF will require speed and loyalty. The official site says that they won't have many tickets available to purchase, so they plan to use priority points to decide who gets them. The session tickets sell for $60 and include admission to the USF-California game and the Lamar-Vermont game that precedes it on Wednesday night.

You can also request tickets to potential Friday and Sunday games in Nashville. You would have to purchase tickets for the entire six-game subregional (four games on Friday, two on Sunday), and you'll only be charged for the tickets if USF wins on Wednesday. Priority points will be a factor here too, maybe even more so than they would be for Dayton, despite the fact that Athletics would likely have more tickets available for Nashville.

All requests for tickets to Dayton and Nashville must be made by 5:00pm Eastern time on Monday.

And if that doesn't work, there's always the resale market like StubHub, or you can roll the dice at the arena on scalping tickets. (Don't go to jail, guys.)

FLIGHTS: This is a tricky one. Kayak has a variety of ways to get to Dayton from Tampa, but there are very few nonstop trips. The prices aren't exactly friendly, either. The cheapest Kayak can get you (as of just before midnight Sunday night) is $445 on Delta, but then you have to depart Dayton at 6:15 on Thursday morning, when USF is playing a game that starts at 9:00 the night before. For a dollar more, you might want to consider a US Airways flight, which has a layover in Charlotte but also lets you leave Dayton around noon, which is much more reasonable.

Another option is to fly to Cincinnati and then rent a car and drive up Interstate 75 to Dayton. It might be easier to fly into a bigger city, but it's even more expensive.

DRIVING TO DAYTON: You could do this pretty easily, if you're willing to spend the entire day in the car. It's 962 miles from the USF campus to the University of Dayton Arena, almost all of it on Interstate 75. Get some friends, take turns driving, chip in for gas and food, and it sounds like a perfectly reasonable spring break trip for college students.

The other, obvious advantage to driving is that you can detour off I-75 on the way home and head to Nashville so you can keep following the Bulls if they get past California and advance to play Temple on Friday.

HOTELS: Sorry, but you're on your own on this one. Collin already figured out that there are no four-star hotels in Dayton, and unless you just have to live in the lap of luxury, I'd suggest trying to get a hotel room as close to the University of Dayton campus (or in downtown) as possible. No idea what kind of neighborhoods there are in town, so ask around if you have the chance.

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