NCAA Announces 16 Regional Host Sites
On the eve of Selection Monday, the NCAA selection committee announced its 16 regional hosts for the NCAA Tournament beginning next weekend.
There were few surprises.
In alphabetical order, those hosts include: Arkansas, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oregon State, Stanford, Stetson, Texas and Texas Tech.
Of those 16 teams, 13 hail from Power-5 conferences and 15 had RPIs in the top 20. East Carolina, N.C. State and Coastal Carolina were among a handful of teams that entered the week on the hosting bubble, along with Auburn, Connecticut and Duke.
Auburn, at No. 13, is the highest team in the RPI to not earn a hosting nod, likely weighed down by a 15-15 Southeastern Conference record and a 7-13 record on the road. A 2-2 showing in the SEC Tournament was not enough to sway the selection committee.
ECU defeated UConn head-to-head in the American Athletic Conference championship to secure a hosting nod, although the Huskies remained a strong hosting candidate with the No. 16 RPI and a 22-13 road record.
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The committee instead turned to Coastal Carolina and N.C. State, two teams with RPIs in the back end of the top 20. Coastal Carolina (No. 20 RPI), the 2016 national title winner, ran away with the Sun Belt regular season title at 23-7 in conference and won the conference tournament. The Chanticleers went 42-17 on the season overall and played the seventh-toughest non-conference schedule, helping their cause.
North Carolina State (No. 19), meanwhile, was seemingly on the hosting bubble along with fellow ACC team Duke (No. 22) after both teams failed to advance to the semifinals in the ACC Tournament. The Wolfpack (40-16, 19-11 ACC) went 0-2 in the ACC Tournament, but lost just two weekend series all season—to likely national seeds UNC and FSU.
The rest of the field, as well as the seeding for the 16 regional hosts, will be announced Monday at noon E.T.