It’s here, folks. Tomorrow is Selection Sunday, and we all know what that means: March Madness has arrived! 

Soon we’ll be filling out our brackets and hoping our teams can make it to the big dance. 

Of course, we’ll have to see which teams even make it into the tournament. This year, it’s up in the air if some of our big Ohio teams even get a shot. It seems only the Ohio State Buckeyes are guaranteed a spot. The Cincinnati Bearcats, Xavier Musketeers and even our local Dayton Flyers are all on the bubble. Same goes for two teams further up I-75: the Bowling Green Falcons and University of Toledo Rockets. 

The Road to the Final Four begins right here in Dayton with the First Four – two games to be played on Tuesday, March 15, and two games to be played on Wednesday, March 16, at the University of Dayton Arena.

If you think about it, this is the perfect spot to start the tournament. We’re a central spot for Ohio basketball teams, with schools south of us, north of us, east of us, and of course, right here in Dayton. Even if they all don’t make it to the tournament this year, it’s still exciting to have such great athletic talent all around.

Tip-off to the tournament
The fun begins locally before Tuesday, however. The Big Hoopla is hosting several events to celebrate the tip-off to the tournament season. If you’ve never heard of this before, or if you’ve never been, we highly recommend checking it out! The Big Hoopla started as an idea and quickly expanded into a regional initiative and now Dayton is recognized as the Epicenter of College Basketball. UD Arena has hosted 105 men’s tournament games, more than any other site. It’s wonderful to see the region recognized on this great platform in the media and the sports world. It gives others a glimpse at what we already know- Dayton is a great place to live, work, and play. 

On Sunday, from 2-7pm, there is the Hoopla Family Festival in the Oregon District. Swing by this free event for an assortment of fun activities, including 3-point Shooting Contests, mascot meet-and-greets, sports inflatables, live music, food trucks, and more. Make sure you stick around to watch the NCAA Selection Show on one of two JumboTrons set up for the event. You can find more info, including parking details and a schedule of events here.

Tournament time
Besides the fact that the tournament starts right here in our backyard, one of the best things about March Madness is simple – it’s a fun thing that unites many of us for a few weeks each year. Given the current state of affairs in today’s world, it’s nice to have a distraction like March Madness. That’s one of the many great things about sports – it unites people. Young and old, men and women, sports fanatics and casual fans. Everyone seems to rally around the TV and their brackets as the madness marches on. As much as you may hate to see your bracket busted, there’s something about rooting for the Cinderella team each tournament, cheering for the underdog as they take on the goliath. When the ball is tipped to start the game, it’s a clean and even slate for everyone. Sure, a team’s record might help and experience can be on your side, but with the right heart and hustle and performance, anyone can keep dancing on. 


Game time eats
Ashley’s Pastries is a fan of March Madness and we hope you’ll keep us in mind as you plan your watch parties. Our basketball sugar cookies are a must-have for the tournament, whether you’re watching on your own or with a crowd. We even take custom cookie orders to whip up sugary deliciousness in honor of your favorite team!

While you’re picking up a cookie order, why not grab a few other bakery items to make hosting and/or watching the games easy? Give a delicious deli sandwich a twist by serving it on our pretzel knots. Add your favorite deli meats, crisp lettuce, a fresh slice of tomato and a creamy mustard, and you’ve got an easy meal that’s sure to be a winner with your family or guests. Our salt sticks and rye sticks are great to nibble on as you enjoy BBQ wings or tasty chicken tenders — easy finger foods to enjoy without taking time away from the action happening on the court. And our French baguettes are great for topping with spinach-artichoke dip or fresh bruschetta. 

If you’re firing up the grill now that the temperatures are creeping out of the freezing zone, our bakery fresh rolls are great for serving up hamburgers. 

Ashley’s Pastries is always honored to be part of the Dayton community and that certain rings true this time of year. We’re all about the madness in March!