Joe Hoffmann, Media Relations Manager
WARRENSBURG – The University of Central Missouri was selected to host the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Central Region Tournament in an announcement made today by the NCAA.
The NCAA Division II Championships Committee has chosen predetermined regional sites for the 2021 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. Due to the health and safety protocols surrounding the pandemic, it is necessary to conduct all NCAA championship competition at predetermined sites. The committee believes the sites and hosts chosen will provide an exceptional and safe experience for all participants.
Institutions were able to put in their bid to host and the NCAA made their determination based on those bids. Central Missouri was chosen as the host for the 2021 Central Region Tournament and will be the host whether they are selected to play in the regional tournament or not.
“On behalf of Division II women’s basketball, we are excited for the upcoming championship and thankful to the hosts of this year’s predetermined sites,” said Lori Hopkins, chair of the Division II Women’s Basketball Committee and deputy athletics director at Northwest Missouri State.
“Though we are doing things a little different this year, I have no doubt the quality and excellence of the championship will remain the same for all the participants. A great student-athlete experience is one of our highest priorities, and making sure it is safe and secure for all will go a long way in making this year’s championship memorable for all involved.”
The differences spoken to are not only the predetermined sites, but the number of teams selected to compete and the make up of the regions. Because of the number of teams and conferences that chose not to play in 2021, regions have been realigned for this year only to balance the field of those teams competing. Central Missouri remains in the Central Region along with the Northern Sun. However the Great American Conference (GAC) was moved to the South Central Region for 2021. The NCAA also cut the field down by 16, meaning each region will be comprised of the top-6 teams rather than the top-8 to make up a 48 team field.
It’s a bit of poetic justice for Central Missouri to host the 2021 Central Region Tournament as UCM was set to host the 2020 NCAA Central Region Tournament before the postseason was canceled the day before it began due to COVID-19.
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. 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.