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The brand-new shine on making the NCAA tournament fades somewhat for the eight teams—the four lowest-seeded at-large ones and the four lowest-seeded automatic qualifiers—shipped off to the Gem City for Tuesday and Wednesday play-in games.
It's an opportunity that smacks of consolation prize.
The First Four, as the Dayton games officially are called—oddly, now that the NCAA has gone back to referring to the round of 64 as the "first round"—doesn't start the Big Dance as much as it arrives awkwardly early.
Yet in each of the last five years, a team has survived Dayton and gone on to win at least one more game; famously and incredibly, 11th-seeded VCU won four more in 2011 to reach the Final Four.
In 2012 and 2015, respectively, 12th-seeded USF and 11th-seeded Dayton reached the round of 32. In 2013 and 2014, respectively, 13th-seeded La Salle and 11th-seeded Tennessee advanced to the Sweet 16.
That's a total of 10 games won by those five teams after Dayton. If you're looking for a team this year that will be leaving its First Four matchup with some momentum, the winner of the intriguing Vanderbilt vs. Wichita State matchup would certainly be a good candidate.
Pick a Dayton-bound squad this year and roll with it at least a little.