The regional championship assignments have been announced (on Tuesday this year instead of the usual Monday to give the assigners more time to…[he trailed off]). That means we now know which unseeded teams have been “geographically” placed at which “regional” sites. I put “geographically” in quotes because there’s no actual way to geographically place all the teams at four sites in any way that is map-logical without putting 11 teams in one regional and 5 in another, meaning it’s just a preposterous notion. And I love that for us.
And now, the selection-show-that-could-have-been-an-email has revealed exactly what abomination has been wrought this year. Let’s dissect it as a family.
Format review: The winner of each Wednesday (March 30) play-in joins semifinal #1. The top 2 teams in each regional semifinal on Thursday (March 31) advance to the regional final on Saturday (April 2). The top two teams in the regional final advance to nationals.
Also for review, here are some of our very best pronunciations from the selection show:
In the regional semifinals, the #2-ranked team starts on vault, #3 on bars, #4 on beam, and #1 on floor.
West Virginia v. Arizona
 Arizona State
Angelica Labat (Illinois State)
Malia Hargrove (Arizona)
VT – Suki Pfister (Ball State), Alana Laster (Illinois State), Gayla Griswold (Lindenwood)
UB – Alisa Bonsall (Penn State), Alysen Fears (Arizona), Lauren Bridgens (Penn St), Cassidy Rushlow (Penn St)
BB – Sirena Linton (Arizona), Mccaleigh Marr (Penn), Ella Chemotti (E Michigan), Abbie Pierson (West Virginia)
FX – Bella Salcedo (Penn St), Kendra Combs (West Virginia), Jaye Mack (Illinois St), Caroline Herry (Arizona), Abbie Pierson (West Virginia)
**Event individuals include those from play-in teams so that if they happened to be eliminated in the play-in, they can still compete the next day in the hope of advancing to nationals, as individual qualification to nationals is based on the Friday results.
Stanford v San Jose State
 Oregon State
 Michigan State
Kyla Bryant (Stanford)
Jada Mazury (San Jose St)
Kyla Kessler (UC Davis)
Lauren Macpherson (San Jose St)
VT – Madison Kirsch (San Jose St), Emma Morgenthaler (Sac St), Kinsey Davis (Nebraska), Anapaula Gutierrez (Stanford), Keana Abraham (UC Davis)
UB – Natalie Hamp (Northern Illinois), Kinsey Davis (Nebraska), Clara Colombo (Nebraska), Jolie Miller (SEMO)
BB – Emma Milne (San Jose), Amber Koeth (Sac State), Brenna Neault (Stanford), Anna Kasizka (SEMO), Kinsey Davis (Nebraska)
FX – Tara Kofmehl (Northern Illinois), Anna Kasiska (SEMO), Megan Ray (UC Davis), Taylor Lawson (Stanford)
Iowa State v Western Michigan
Hannah Demers (Central Michigan)
Payton Murphy (Western Michigan)
Rachel Decavitch (Kent State)
VT – Makayla Maxwell (Iowa State), Kylie Gorgenyi (New Hampshire), Katie Kowalski (Central Michigan) Emilie Hong (Iowa State), Sarah Moravansky (Western Michigan)
UB – Mara Titarsolej (LIU), Mei Li Costa (Brown), Sarah Haxton (Kent State), Kylie Gorgenyi (New Hampshire)
BB – Hailey Lui (New Hampshire), Alyssa Worthington (New Hampshire), Amanda Gruber (Western Michigan)
FX – Maddie Diab (Iowa State), Sierra Demarinis (Central Michigan), Karlie Franz (Kent State), Alyssa Guns (Kent State)
NC STATE REGIONAL
North Carolina v Towson
Hannah Joyner (Rutgers)
Deja Chambliss (George Washington)
Julia Knower (North Carolina)
VT – Julianna Roland (Temple) Emily Leese (Rutgers), Lali Dekanoidze (North Carolina)
UB – Katie Chamberlain (Pitt), Elizabeth Culton (North Carolina), Kathryn Doran (Bridgeport), Hallie Copperwheat (Pitt)
BB – Elizabeth Culton (North Carolina), Belle Huang (Rutgers), Hallie Copperwheat (Pitt), Jenna Weitz (Towson)
FX – Belle Huang (Rutgers), Brooke Donabedian (Temple), Kendall Whitman (George Washington)
Call this the “we sorry, NC State” year. Following last season, when NC State was put into the play-in meet despite having a superior ranking to Kent State, which was able to go straight to the regional semifinal, this season the opposite has happened. By ranking, NC State should be in the play-ins, but instead was placed directly into the semifinal at its own regional (isn’t that convenient), bumping the superior-ranked Iowa State into a play-in meet even though Iowa State made it into the top 28. Iowa State, feel free to throw your very warranted fit right now.
I thought we were supposed to have this resolved?
One the bright side, they did resolve the issues of semifinal parity a little bit this year by putting the #5 and #8 teams in one semifinal and the #6 and #7 teams in the other semifinal (in previous years, the #5 and #6 went to one semi, and the #7 and #8 went to the other semi, which was insane). The unseeded teams seem to have been distributed more equitably to regionals overall, so there were clearly some adjustments made after last season’s debacle. But not, you know, all of the adjustments.
So now, what do we think about the actual regionals?
-Arkansas getting put in the same semifinal as Arizona State is a juicy one. That could go either way depending on the day. Boise State going to Oklahoma instead of Washington is a good example of how geographical placement is not actually a thing and we should stop pretending it is.
-Likewise, Ohio State/Denver and Oregon State/Illinois present compelling matchups. Changing which ranking of unseeded teams go to which semifinals has helped in that regard.
-The Kentucky-Georgia semifinal is fun as a concept, but then you think about how they’ve actually been performing this year and realize Kentucky is the major favorite there.
-Iowa got a tough draw. Missouri looked very reliable at SECs.