NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt was awarded the No. 2 overall national seed for the upcoming NCAA Championship and was assigned the Lansing (Michigan) Regional as the NCAA Bowling Committee announced its 17-team field Wednesday.
Joining Vanderbilt in Lansing are No. 8 Maryville, Carthage and No. 6 Youngstown State, who ousted Vandy from last weekend’s Southland Bowling League championship in a thrilling match. The Commodores, ranked No. 2 nationally with a 92-27 record, will meet Carthage, in the opening mega-match April 7.
“It will be a challenging weekend,” Vandy head coach John Williamson said. “We have some teams we are familiar with in Maryville and Youngstown State. We are not very familiar with Carthage but we did play them once. It is going to take a solid weekend of bowling which is to be expected in the NCAA Tournament. We are looking forward to it.”
The NCAA Committee, of which Williamson is a first-time member this year, made McKendree the tournament’s top seed and sent the Bearcats to the Arlington, Texas Regional. Third-seed Arkansas State was assigned to Rochester and Nebraska was the fourth seed, heading to Pittsburgh.
“I had absolutely nothing to do with our bracket as a committee person,” Williamson explained. “In terms of the brackets and who went where, the four coaches on the committee were not involved and the three administrators on the committee made the assignments.”
Vanderbilt has faced Carthage once this season at the Ladyjack Invitational in November and won 1,056-925.
“I think it’s nice going back to the same place,” senior Amelia Kiefer said. “We have some familiarity with the Lansing area in general and that brings some calm to us to some extent. I think we’ll have a good field there, very competitive. I think not winning our conference somewhat put our season into perspective; a – it reminded us how quickly it can all be over and b – it’s a different way to approach things because for the bulk of our team we’ve entered NCAA play coming off two conference championships.
The four regions will determine a single regional champion by double-elimination, mega-match format that includes traditional and Baker games and, if necessary to break ties, a best-of-seven Baker contest. Those four regional winners will meet April 14-15 at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas to crown the 2023 national champion.
Nine of the teams in this year’s field are automatic conference qualifiers, and eight teams are at-large picks based on the committee’s assessment of their overall season.
The powerful Southland Bowling League, soon to become affiliated with Conference USA, placed six of its eight members in the 16-team field.
“It shows our conference is very strong with six of the 17 schools,” Willamson said. “It shows over the course of the season we challenged ourselves week in and week out and hopefully that sets us up to be successful.”
Other programs getting invitations include Sam Houston, Louisiana Tech and the winner of the play-in game between Prairie View and Fayetteville State in the Arlington Regional; Stephen F. Austin, Mercyhurst and Duquesne in the Pittsburgh Regional and Sacred Heart, North Carolina A&T and Medaille in the Rochester Regional.
Vanderbilt’s invitation is the 17th consecutive year the Commodores have been included in bowling’s Big Dance. The Commodores won the Lansing Regional a year ago.
More information can be found on NCAA.com.