NCAA Offers Few Surprises With 20 Potential Regional Hosts

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SEE ALSO: Latest Field of 64 | Postseason Stock Report | Etheridge on SEC’s bubble situations

The NCAA released the 20 teams that will have an opportunity to host a postseason NCAA Regional, and while most of the selections were not surprising, there were at least a couple of curveballs thrown.

Though a vast majority of the 20 teams will be one of the 16 host sites announced in a couple of weeks, four teams will miss the cut. Meaning, the final couple of weekends of the regular season and conference tournaments will have a huge bearing on who’s hosting and who’s not.

The Southeastern Conference leads the way with seven teams on the list of 20, while the Pac 12, Big 12 and Conference USA each have three teams on the list. The ACC has two teams, which was a surprise, and the WCC and American each have one representative.

Potential Regional Hosts

Arizona (Tucson)
Arkansas (Fayetteville)
Charlotte (Gastonia*)
East Carolina (Greenville)
Florida (Gainesville)
Gonzaga (Spokane)
Louisiana Tech (Ruston)
Mississippi State (Starkville)
Notre Dame (South Bend)
Ole Miss (Oxford)
Oregon (Eugene)
Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh)
South Carolina (Columbia)
Southern Miss (Hattiesburg)
Stanford (Stanford)
Tennessee (Knoxville)
Texas (Austin)
Texas Tech (Lubbock)
TCU (Fort Worth)
Vanderbilt (Nashville)

Instant Analysis

• One of the bigger questions coming into this year’s postseason field, with the unbalanced and different schedules across the country, how would the committee view hosts? Would it be more merit-based, or would it be more location-based? Clearly, the NCAA went with a combination of merit, and, well, straight RPI. Only Fairfield and Old Dominion are in the Top 15 and did not earn a host site. Fairfield had virtually no shot playing a Metro Atlantic-only schedule, while the Monarchs did not bid to host a regional. If the committee goes this strictly by RPI when it comes to the field of 64, it could be bad news for bubble teams with bad RPIs, with or without unbalanced schedules.

• South Carolina was the most interesting inclusion for me. If you look at the RPI, the Gamecocks seem like a no-brainer, right? But you have to go well beyond the RPI. Sure, the Gamecocks have an RPI of 15, but they’re 8-14 vs. RPI Top 25 and 12-15 vs. RPI Top 50. South Carolina has lost three-straight SEC series and finish with a road series against Kentucky and a home series against Tennessee. Win both series and the Gamecocks probably get back into position to ‘deserve’ a regional, but right now, they should have work to do. This is not a regional hosting resume at the moment.

• Ole Miss was another interesting inclusion for me, but certainly much more deserving than South Carolina, at least for now. The Rebels did lose righthanded pitcher Gunnar Hoglund for the season earlier this week, so it’s hard to see them finishing with a bang with Vandy at home this weekend and a road series at Georgia looming. However, the Rebels still have a 14-10 record in the league, along with a home series sweep over the Gamecocks. Furthermore, if the Rebels won three or four games the rest of the way, including the SEC tournament, they’d have 16-17 SEC wins. Those are solid marks. Ole Miss still has some work to do to earn a host in my eyes, but it’s right there for them.

• I didn’t like the fact the committee shut out Florida State and Louisville from even having a chance to host a regional. I ultimately think the committee will regret not giving FSU a host site opportunity. The Seminoles, yes, have an RPI of 40, but they have 17 wins in the ACC with a 6-2 mark vs. RPI Top 25 and 13-10 mark vs. RPI Top 50. FSU also has a road series win over a slam-dunk national seed in Notre Dame. Ole Miss has comparable metrics, but FSU has the edge over a team like South Carolina for certain. But then there’s that pesky RPI. This is a situation where the committee should’ve looked well beyond the RPI. Clearly it’s skewed, because ACC teams were forced to play a grueling 36-game conference schedule and limited to just 50 games overall. The RPI requires more cross-pollination between conferences to have much value as a tool for comparing ACC teams against teams in other conferences, so typical RPI guidelines for hosts should be set aside when evaluating the top teams in the ACC. As for U of L, it has 16 wins in the ACC right now and does have a head-to-head series win over Florida State at home. However, the Cards did not play a challenging, albeit short, nonconference slate, and the Top 25 RPI metrics don’t compare favorably to FSU and a few other teams. The Seminoles would be higher than Louisville in my pecking order, and the fact both missed the cut surprised me.

• I love that the committee put Louisiana Tech, Charlotte and Southern Miss all on the board. I expected one of those teams to miss the cut — likely Charlotte or USM. But I’m glad to see all three on there because all three have had terrific seasons. Now, we’ll see which of those three teams end the season in the Top 16 as hosts, and that could depend on which club has the deepest and most impressive run in the conference tournament in a couple of weeks. It’s worth noting that Charlotte bid to host in Gastonia, N.C., at the FUSE Ballpark there. The ballpark holds anywhere from 4-5K with standing room only included. Clearly, Charlotte would love to host at its home ballpark, but that isn’t in the cards this spring. Charlotte hopes that will be an option sooner rather than later, however.

• Color me a huge fan of Gonzaga being included as a potential host site. Oregon State to Spokane as a No. 2 seed, anyone? One of the things every committee has reiterated is this idea that mid-majors need to go out and schedule tough teams, and in many cases, win those games, to be considered as hosts. Well, the Zags did just that in non-conference play, hitting the road to face Texas Tech and taking two of three in a weekend series against TCU, which was one of our top eight seeds earlier this week. It’s hard to make much more of a statement than that. Gonzaga has dominated the WCC thus far, though a huge series against San Diego looms the final weekend of the regular season. Gonzaga’s RPI is sitting at 23, so it doesn’t have the luxury of many slip-ups the rest of the way. But that non-conference SOS of four will ring loud between now and Selection Monday. Good job, committee.

• Congrats to Pittsburgh for being selected as one of the 20 potential regional host sites. Though the Panthers only are able to allow a few hundred fans to attend regional games because of COVID protocols and capacity regulations, hosting a regional is still a massive accomplishment for a program that was universally picked to finish near or at the bottom of the ACC standings. This will be Pitt’s fourth NCAA tournament appearance in program history, and certainly would be its first regional host.

28 responses to “NCAA Offers Few Surprises With 20 Potential Regional Hosts”

  1. As a Florida State fan I’m disappointed not to host a regional. But I think it’s understandable considering the Noles lost to awful North Florida, Jacksonville, Boston College, and Wake Forest (twice) teams and lost all three to Pitt. The good news is this may be a break as the Noles are a better road team than they are at home. I can’t recall Florida State ever losing 12 home games in a single season plus however many they drop to Clemson this week. It’s definitely a strange year.

  2. The NCAA’s antiquated view of reality, and stubborn holding on to their treasured RPI ( a mathematical formula created for basketball ) in this extraordinary Covid year BAFFLES me.

    • It would be hard to have a good tool to compare conferences this year, and there needs to be SOME sort of statistical comparison of teams in different conferences. The RPI is not a great tool, but it’s better than NO tool.

  3. I’m not sure what’s the issue over South Carolina being a “potential” host. If they win 4 or 5 or 6 or their last 7 games they will for sure deserve the bid and if they don’t they will be one of the 4 left out. Wouldn’t it be just as bad if they ended up winning 5 of their last 6 sec games and because the committee included FSU over then they would deserve but couldn’t get a host site? In that scenario there is no way FSU would have better metrics than Carolina.

    • The same could be said for probably 20 other teams. “If we just win the rest of our games we’d deserve a regional!”

  4. I think Louisville was hurt by both lack non-conference opportunities and success in the few they had (midweek losses to Morehead St. and EKU were killers).

  5. I hate the NCAA is treating every city the same when it comes to COVID protocols.

    Cities and schools that are safely at or near capacity now are forced to go back to 50% for no better reason that not hurt the other cities’ feelings.

    • The NCAA has rapidly become a highly political organization that is controlled by the same radicals that now control our government, universities, corporations, etc. There is absolutely no reason to believe that they would do anything that makes sense and there is every reason to believe that they will actively participate in the madness that is now our nation.

      • seems a “group think” has grabbed this country, and much reflects only the media’s view. All trying to “out-left” the other.

      • Sounds like a Rachel Maddow•MSNBC•CNN•CDC•NCAA led conspiracy to ruin college baseball by vaccinating bloated orange•haired liars against their will with space lasers…and why can’t every fan bring his/her AR•15 to the game, anyway?

        Maybe leave your politics on your Q•anon page?

        • So naturally you insult and call conspiracy and try and pigeonhole someone’s opinion into one of an extremist all while failing to address any of your disagreements with facts or questions of your own. Following the liberal playbook page by page I see.

        • Great post..the conspiracy clowns are literally everywhere and afraid of their own shadow.. Such snowflakes..!!

          • Your snowflake response makes your fascism show.. See how that works bozo.. Leave your tinfoil hat in your closet with your old Calvin doll..

          • Mentioning “Marxism” makes your ignorance show. When the Q-caucus leaves politics out of public health, we’ll be a safer country.

            The CDC guidelines have changed since the NCAA 50% rule was announced…so maybe chill & see if the NCAA follows the science? If they don’t, it doesn’t mean they’re Marxists, it just means they’re cautious.

            And get vaccinated, dude, before you actually go maskless to a college game. That’s science, not politics.

    • Damn. The libs here are strong! I was under the impression that the 50% was a guideline though. Is it not?

  6. 1) Is it possible for a #1 seed to be at a host site? (Think yes but need face plants from at least 5 teams of the 20 hosts.)
    2) How likely is that? (I guess 1 to 2 of 16.)

    • I was wondering the same thing. I think it could be more likely than that. There will definitely be teams who finish strong who aren’t included here. Whoever wins the Big Ten, for example, should have a regional in my opinion.

    • We’ll get a chance to review that stance, and soon. Maybe you are right, we shall see! What I recall is the 2019 ECU Super Regional against UL, got run out of the place, was not even competitive. And that was 2019, so really, last season. Seems to be the season for rewriting all we know, and not just in NCAA, although they are baffling. You don’t agree? Then explain the renewing of Emmert’s contract. That is a HUGE “you got to be kidding me!” The only way he kicks the ball in the weeds worse than he has, is if he gets hauled in on child abuse charges, or siphoning off $$ to his own bank accounts. Like the guy who headed the U. of Louisville, James Ramsey. What a self-serving crook that guy turned out to be. You or I do that, we are in jail, he does it, and so far, he skates. “Steal a little and they lock you up, steal a lot, and they make you King”. BD to thank for that solid observation.

  7. I have a large issue with Pittsburgh, reminds me of the days when the AP was always serving up East FB teams as the mythical, unearned, national championship. Those were delivered more by the AP than the teams themselves. My issue with Pitt is the 3-game series with Louisville, cancelled due to Pitt’s COVID issues. Think they lose 2 of 3 in Louisville and end up off this list. Improvement, relevancy are great things, but not enough, considering just how weak the ACC has been this year. Have a chance to show that I am wrong, in how they do as a conference in the regionals. Hard to believe that ND and Pitt are the representatives from the ACC, although ND fully deserves their spot. As I said, Pitt is the most suspect of the 20. Hopefully, when all is over, the ACC regional performance does not look like a mirror-image of the last 20 years of B10 bowl seasons.

    • Pitt has earned their spot in the games they played IMHO. I also don’t think Pitt will go far, but I would have been wrong in saying that at the beginning of the season too.

      My problem with Pitt is the home field advantage playing on that crappy Home Depot clearance grade rug they call a field. Knowing how to play that helps a lot.

      And I’m not sold on how good the ACC is to to bottom. GT is 6-6 in OOC play and 4-4 to teams >100 rpi. That performance is what legitimately kept GT out of hosting. But we win more on the road, so bring it on 🙂

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