If the No. 3-ranked West Liberty University men's basketball team is to win an unprecedented fourth straight NCAA Division II Atlantic Region championship, the Hilltoppers will have to do it on the road.
The No. 1 seed and hosting rights for this week's Atlantic Region Tournament was awarded to Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champion East Stroudsburg, Pa. (28-1) on Sunday.
The Hilltoppers (26-3), who had been ranked No. 1 in the region throughout the year, were forced to settle for the No. 2 seed after being upset, 63-60, by Charleston in Sunday's MEC Tournament championship game in Charleston.
The NCAA's official announcement came late Sunday night via a live webcast introducing the entire 64-team NCAA Division II championship tournament field.
West Liberty, which has averaged more than 30 wins a season over the past five years, had been selected as a regional host in each of the past four seasons and is unbeaten (11-0) in NCAA regional play at the ASRC.
Coach Jim Crutchfield and his Hilltoppers will be facing a familiar foe when Atlantic Regional quarterfinal play tips off on Saturday in East Stroudsburg. Fellow MEC member Glenville State (18-10) will provide the opposition for West Liberty as the No. 7 seed after losing to Charleston in Saturday's MEC semifinals.
Charleston (21-8), the first MEC Tournament champion, is the No. 4 seed and will take on No. 5 seed Gannon, Pa. (19-9) out of the PSAC.
As the No. 1 seed, host East Stroudsburg will play No. 8 seed Livingstone, N.C. (21-7), an automatic qualifier as the CIAA Tournament champion. The other quarterfinal sends No. 3 seed Indiana, Pa. (23-4), a perennial Atlantic Region power, against No. 6 seed West Chester, Pa. (20-9).
Tipoff times for all regional tournament games will be announced on Monday.
NCAA Division II Men's Basketball
Atlantic Region Tournament
Saturday, March 15
(at East Stroudsburg, Pa.)
No. 1 East Stroudsburg, Pa. (28-1) vs. No. 8 Livingstone, N.C. (21-7), tba