NCAA selects O’Reilly Family Event Center as site for women’s NCAA-II Midwest Regional tournament

By: Ed Beach

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– The O’Reilly Family Event Center at Drury University has been selected by the NCAA to host the Division II women’s basketball Midwest Regional tournament. Late last week, most of the NCAA-II regional sites were announced, but the location of women’s Midwest Regional was revealed today.

No announcement has been made on whether spectators would be allowed to attend. Should spectators be allowed, the O’Reilly Family Event Center’s seating capacity will be significantly reduced based on the necessary adjustments required from the NCAA in their COVID-19 guidelines.  

The NCAA-II tournament will be held March 12-15. Game times will be announced at a later date. The NCAA will announce the national tournament field and seeding for each regional on March 7. 

With adjustments made due to the coronavirus pandemic, the national tournament field has been reduced from 64 to 48 teams, and six teams will advance to eight different regional brackets. The Midwest Region will include automatic qualifiers from the Great Lakes Valley Conference and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in addition to four at-large teams from those two leagues. The Great Midwest Athletic Conference, normally a part of the Midwest Region, will shift to the Atlantic Region this year.

The NCAA also opted to pre-select its regional sites for 2021 because of the pandemic. Regional sites are usually announced on the Sunday before the start of the tournament and are awarded to the highest seeded team that bids on hosting the event. 

This will mark the third straight season Drury has been selected to host the regional tournament. Drury hosted and won the Midwest Regional in 2019. Last year’s event was canceled less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to start.

The NCAA also announced a list of teams in consideration for the national tournament field this week. In a normal season, there is a top 10 ranking of teams in each region. This year, the NCAA is listing ‘teams in consideration’ and not ranking them, but instead listing them in alphabetical order.

Teams in the Midwest Region being considered for the NCAA-II tournament are:

Midwest (Under Consideration)                                          

Team                                 Record                Regional Rec.

Drury                                 13-1                    13-1

Grand Valley State          12-1                    12-1

Lewis                                 10-7                    10-7

Michigan Tech                 12-1                    12-1

Missouri-St. Louis           10-7                    10-7

Northwood                      9-4                       9-4

Southern Indiana            11-5                    11-5

Truman                              12-3                    12-3

The Lady Panthers are 13-1, ranked fourth in NCAA-II, and are scheduled to play Lewis on Saturday at 1 pm. The game against Indianapolis originally scheduled for tonight at 5:30 pm has been canceled because of Indianapolis student-athletes being placed in quarantine.

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