For the fourth time in six years, Ashland University's women's basketball team has earned the right to play host to the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional tournament.
As announced on NCAA.com on Sunday (March 5) night, the No. 1-ranked Eagles (31-0) will be the top seed and the host for the Midwest Regional, set for Friday (March 10), Saturday (March 11) and Monday, March 13. Ashland's quarterfinal opponent on Friday will be No. 8 seed Malone (23-6).
The other quarterfinal games on Friday will be No. 4 Ursuline (23-7) vs. No. 5 Grand Valley State (23-7), No. 2 Drury (28-3) vs. No. 7 Bellarmine (22-7) and No. 3 Saginaw Valley State vs. No. 6 Lewis (23-8).
Regional game times will be announced later.
Prior to Sunday night's announcement, Ashland sat atop the Midwest Region rankings in all three releases on Feb. 15, Feb. 22 and March 1.
So far in 2016-17, the Eagles have earned the program's first undefeated regular season and the first 20-0 regular season in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's basketball history, and became the first GLIAC women's basketball program to win both four regular-season and four tournament championships in a six-year period.
Ashland goes into the postseason as the only undefeated basketball team, women's or men's, in Division II. A national championship would be the program's second in a five-season span, and AU would become the first team to go 37-0 in D-II history.
Ashland won the Division II national championship in 2013, and was the national runner-up in 2012. The Eagles have made six prior D-II postseason appearances, all since 2004, and have an all-time postseason record of 15-5 (.750). Their .750 winning percentage is second in Division II history among programs with at least 20 games played.
A 64-team tournament (the top eight teams from each of eight regions), the Division II postseason will begin on Friday, and the Elite Eight, Final Four and national championship game will be March 21, 22 and 24 at Alumni Hall on the campus of Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio.
In the Midwest Region, automatic qualifiers come from the GLIAC (Ashland), Great Lakes Valley Conference (Drury) and Great Midwest Athletic Conference (Malone). The other five teams were chosen as at-large entries.