Whether Arizona makes the NCAA Tournament isn’t uncertain, but where the Wildcats end up going is. Just know that it’s going to be far away.
The 16 regional host sites were announced on Sunday evening, and they’re all more than 800 miles from Tucson. The only sites out west are in Corvallis (Oregon State) and Palo Alto (Stanford), where Arizona cannot be sent, which means a trip east.
But how far east? The closest ones are in Texas, in Austin (Texas) and College Station (Texas A&M), and Stillwater, Okla. (Oklahoma State). After that it’s Hattiesburg, Miss. (Southern Mississippi), Knoxville, Tenn. (Tennessee), Auburn, Ala. and Louisville, Ky.
The remaining sites are along the East Coast: Blacksburg, Va. (Virginia Tech), Chapel Hill (North Carolina) and Greenville (East Carolina), N.C., Coral Gables (Miami) and Gainesville (Florida), Fla., College Park (Maryland), Md. and Statesboro (Georgia Southern), Ga.
The chances of Arizona being sent to one of the regionals in Oklahoma and Texas are slim, though, due to other teams from those states that figure to get first dibs on those sites. A Big 12 school (Oklahoma, Texas Tech or TCU) figures to be sent to College Station, while Austin figures to play host to one or more in-state schools such as Texas State or UTSA, and Stillwater’s top non-host spot will probably go to Arkansas or LSU.
Fellow Pac-12 teams Oregon and UCLA figure to be in the same boat as the UA, getting shipped far from home. ASU, Oregon State and UCLA all ended up in Texas last year, but Dallas Baptist was the only team from the Lone Star State in the 2021 field that wasn’t a host.