St. Joseph Post
The NCAA Division II Championships Committee announced its list of predetermined regional sites for the 2021 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships on Friday.
Due to health and safety protocols surrounding COVID-19, the NCAA chose sites and hosts that offer "an exceptional and safe experience for all participants."
The Central Regional, which has been hosted in Maryville the past four years with Northwest serving as the region's top seed, will instead be held at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen, South Dakota by Northern State.
Northwest hosted for the first time in 2017, eventually finishing the season as national champions.
Northwest lost in the first round in 2018 before winning the 2019 title with an undefeated season. The Bearcats were named hosts before the 2020 tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
“We were very pleased with the quantity and quality of the options the committee was able to select from under the circumstances,” said Fran Reidy, chair of the Division II Men’s Basketball Committee in a release.
“We are confident that while predetermined sites are new for our regional format,that each host site has a history of successfully hosting NCAA events and that our basketball student-athletes will have a championship experience at each of the venues.”
The move comes after Division II realigned regionals for 2021 winter championships last week with many conferences and schools opting out of playing. The NCAA previously announced a reduced field from 64 to 48 teams.
The Central Region only includes the MIAA and NSIC this year, with the GAC joining the South Central regional this year.
Only one region has more actives teams (30) than the Central this year, with 33 teams playing in the Southeast. Seven of the eight regions have between 27 and 33 teams playing.
Regional quarterfinal games will begin Saturday, March 13, followed by the semifinals Sunday, March 14, and the regional championship Tuesday, March 16.
Winners will advance to the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Elite Eight in Evansville, Indiana, on March 24-27.
The women's Central Region will be held at Central Missouri in Warrensburg. Regional quarterfinal games will begin Friday, March 12, followed by the semifinals Saturday, March 13, and the regional championship Monday, March 15.
Winners will advance to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Elite Eight in Columbus, Ohio, on March 23-26.
Participating teams will be announced Sunday, March 7. The women’s basketball selection show will be broadcast on ncaa.com at 10 p.m. eastern time followed by the men’s basketball selection show at 10:30 p.m. eastern.
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