Alabama gymnastics has known it is hosting the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional on April 7 at 4 p.m. for a long time, but it didn’t know what teams would be joining until Monday afternoon.
The NCAA’s selection show revealed No. 2 seed Michigan, No. 3 seed Georgia, Missouri, Illinois and Central Michigan will also be in Coleman Coliseum that Saturday afternoon, fighting for a spot in the 2018 NCAA Championships.
Alabama, ranked sixth nationally, is the No. 1 seed in the regional. Michigan is its only top-10 regional opponent (seventh).
“I think it’s a very talented regional we have coming here,” UA coach Dana Duckworth said. “I think that there’s some really good regionals across the country that will make this road to nationals very interesting.”
How regionals work: Based on Regional Qualifying Scores, the top 18 teams in the nation are seeded among six different sites. The three non-seeded teams come from within the region. Then, those that finish first and second at regionals advance to the NCAA Championships.
The other five locations are the Columbus (Ohio) Regional, the Minneapolis Regional (in St. Paul, Minnesota), the Raleigh (N.C.) Regional, the Salt Lake City Regional and the State College (Pa.) Regional.
No. 1 Oklahoma is going to Minneapolis, No. 2 LSU will be at Raleigh and No. 3 UCLA has Columbus. No. 4 Utah is a host, and No. 5 Florida was put at State College, hosted by Penn State. All are top seeds at their sites.
This will be the 15th regional held in Tuscaloosa. The last time was in 2016 when Crimson Tide came in first with a 197.125, besting the second-place score by 1.2 points. Alabama traveled to Morgantown, West Virginia, last season and placed second with a 196.625.
“Regionals is the same wherever we go, still the same goal,” junior Abby Armbrecht said. “We’re still focused on us, but it’s nice to be home and be in a familiar environment. We love competing at home, so I think it helps us out a little bit but we don’t really need it.”
Since the championship’s inception is 1982, Alabama has won an NCAA-best 31 regional titles and never finished outside the top-two bubble.
The NCAA Championships will be held April 20-21 at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, same place as last year when Alabama closed out the season sixth.