Despite finishing atop the final public West Region rankings, winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament and finishing with more wins than any other team in the region, the nationally sixth-ranked UAA women's basketball team will not host the West Region tournament.
The Seawolves (33-2) landed the No. 2 seed Sunday during the NCAA selection show.
PacWest champion Azusa Pacific (27-3) gets the No. 1 seed and will host the tournament, which begins Friday in Azusa, California, near Los Angeles.
"We were surprised and disappointed, because we felt we played probably the strongest strength of schedule in the West Region," UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said. "So, I would like to see the paper they used to do the math on that one, but the bottom line is we're happy to be selected, and we're very pleased to be playing in the postseason."
UAA will face seventh-seeded Cal. State-Dominguez Hills (22-9) out of the California Collegiate Conference at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the opening round.
The Seawolves beat the Toros 82-61 in their second game of the regular season back on Oct. 31 in Anaheim, California.
McCarthy said both teams are much different now than they were in the first week of the season, but his team still goes into the regional tournament with confidence knowing they've beaten many of the teams in the tournament.
In addition to the Toros, UAA also defeated conference foe Montana State-Billings — most recently in Saturday's GNAC championship — fourth-seeded UC San Diego and sixth-seeded Academy of Art during the regular season.
The other teams in the tournament are fifth-seeded Cal State-East Bay and third-seeded California Baptist.
Last season, UAA hosted the tournament, where it fell to Point Loma in the opening round at the Alaska Airlines Center.
This season, there is no pressure of being the No. 1 seed, which McCarthy said could be a positive for the Seawolves.
The winner of the four-day West Region tournament advances to the NCAA Division II quarterfinals later in the month.
"There was a lot of disappointment on the team — I think it lit a fire in their bellies to come out and prove to … everyone who the best team in the West Region is," McCarthy said. "I think there's no better way to do that than to go down there and get a chance to compete with those teams in their own backyard."