Goodness, this feels like a penalty for playing in the SEC.
Auburn got sent to San Diego. So did Clemson. There are 8 SEC teams and 9 ACC teams. They can’t all go to Dallas or Nashville or Charlotte. At least we didn’t get Boise again (we’ve been sent there before as a 7 seed; Georgetown beat us).
We also got sent to Boise in 1998, a couple of months after their football coach came to Arkansas. We beat Nebraska in a tough back and forth first round game, then lost to a Utah team that made it all the way to the national championship game. I think we were a 7 seed that year, maybe 6.
Only 1 ACC team is in their natural region East and that is 8 seed VT. ACC got shipped all over just like SEC. Surprised neither Duke nor UNC are in East.
As is customary though, the Heels do get to play their first round games in the state of North Carolina
UVa got the spot that has normally gone to one of the Highway 54 teams (Duke and UNC): Top seed, preferred tournament site in North Carolina. UVa was put in the South because Atlanta is a lot closer to Charlottesville than Boston (Atlanta is the South regional site, Boston is the East). Thus putting the ACC champ in the South and the Big East champ in the East made perfect sense, and would have also made sense if Duke were the 30-win team instead of UVa. With two top seeds out of the Big East, and none west of Allen Fieldhouse, Xavier was the one likely to get sent out West, and they were. Once you give geographic preference to the 1 seeds (or at least 3 of the 4), the rest is kind of a crap shoot. UNC got the Charlotte subregional but is in the West. Duke got Pittsburgh and the Midwest (as a private school, they don’t worry as much about where they put Duke for a regional, certainly not like they did for all those years when the old East Rutherford NJ Arena was practically Cameron North).
Kentucky got sent to Boise. I have never been there but people say it’s almost like end of world! I would much rather play in Detroit than Boise! Easier to get to Detroit than Boise! I thought it was interesting that no Bracket expert or web site had Arkansas in the East!
As far as I know, the NCAA’s only goal when it comes to locations is to keep the top four seeds of each region close to home.
Which didn’t help Auburn any – 2,058 miles from the Loveliest Village to San Diego.