LINCOLN PARK — March Madness has officially hit Chicago's University of Dayton alumni.
The 11th-seeded Flyers have shocked Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford on the way to their first NCAA tournament Elite Eight appearance since 1984. Dayton's local alumni base, which numbers more than 4,000, is euphoric.
"Making it this far has been amazing," said Lakeview resident Kristen Dennison, president of the University of Dayton Alumni Association Chicago Chapter. "The alumni are really excited that people are paying attention to us."
Dennison said hundreds of Flyers fans packed Glascott's Saloon, 2158 N. Halsted St., in Lincoln Park to watch triumphs over the Buckeyes, Orange and Cardinal. And they'll certainly be in full force for the South Regional final against No. 1 overall seed Florida (35-2) at 5:09 p.m. Saturday on TBS.
Dennison said Glascott's has showcased a campus-like atmosphere. After upsetting Syracuse, Dennison captured a "chaotic" video inside the bar of people crowd-surfing. She compared the excitement to that of Dayton's "Ghetto" — a nickname for popular campus housing at the Ohio university.
"It's our own little version of the 'Ghetto,'" Dennison said. "If we can't be at campus, this is definitely the next best thing."
Glascott's bartenders also have tried to replicate a popular U. of D. drink called "The Wall," which one Yelper said was a "hellish combination of booze and tastes like fruity sugary death." Dennison said some of the ingredients included Triple Sec, watermelon Pucker, gin and cranberry juice.
The Flyers (26-10) feature two freshman players from Auburn Gresham, forward Kendall Pollard and point guard Kyle Davis. Pollard, a Simeon Career Academy graduate, scored a career-high 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the victory over Stanford, while Davis, a Morgan Park High School alumnus, hit a key 3-pointer in the win.
Dennison hopes Pollard, Davis and the rest of the Flyers can find a way to pull off another stunner on Saturday.
"Ugh, I’m scared, but it will be exciting," she said. "I think a win is within our reach, but if we aren’t able to, people are still going to be mind-blown that we’re doing so well."