Sectional sites announced

Xavier Brown and Wooster will have a chance to win two games at home and advance to the Final Four for the second consecutive year.
Wooster athletics photo

The Franklin and Marshall men, along with Middlebury, UW-Whitewater and Wooster, will host next weekend's sectional rounds in the 2012 Division III NCAA Tournament, while the Amherst women, along with Chicago, Mary Washington and Mount Union, will host the women's sectionals.

Last year, two of the four men's sectional hosts advanced to the Final Four, and just one of the four women's sectional hosts.

Although the NCAA doesn't release regional rankings, seedings, or rationale for their decisions, here's our take on why.

Franklin and Marshall: Hosts because Amherst's men can't. In even numbered years, the men have hosting priority in the first weekend of the tournament, women in the second. So although Amherst would be the expected host, they are not available to do so. F&M, the second-ranked team in the final non-secret regional ranking, got the nod ahead of MIT, the third-ranked team in that week's Northeast ranking.

UW-Whitewater: Host because of geography. To host at Virginia Wesleyan or Whitworth would require three teams to fly. Hosting in the Midwest means Wheaton can drive to UW-Whitewater and only two teams must fly.

Middlebury: There didn't seem to be a clear reason to choose Middlebury or Cabrini, but the NCAA definitely owes Middlebury after last year, and "rotation of sites" is one of the criteria.

Mary Washington: Great question. Here the NCAA is paying extra money to fly Bowdoin to Mary Washington, since Bowdoin is outside the 500-mile bus radius. Hosting at Lebanon Valley, which is 496 miles from Bowdoin, would have ensured the fiscal responsibility the NCAA is known for. This is the right decision by the seedings but an unusual extra expense. Flying three teams to George Fox wasn't an option.

Other sites are clearly based on seeding and hopefully don't require explanation.