Georgia Tech, which defeated Georgia on March 16, 2019 at Russ Chandler Stadium to end a six-game losing streak to the Bulldogs, will play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Georgia Tech earns NCAA regional

As expected, Georgia Tech was named as one of the 16 hosts for the regional round of the NCAA tournament that begins next weekend. The NCAA named the 16 teams on Sunday night.

It’s the first time that Tech has earned one of the top 16 seeds since 2011. Since then, the Jackets have been in the tournament four times and lost at the regional round in each.

Tech, which lost to North Carolina Sunday in the final of the ACC tournament in Durham, N.C., earned the designation with a 41-17 record, its best since 2011. It’s a worthy accomplishment after missing the NCAA tournament each of the previous two years and starting this season projected to finish fifth in the ACC’s Coastal Division.

“We’re kind of building off the chip on our shoulder — preseason fifth in our division, and here we are No. 2 in the ACC,” first baseman Tristin English said after the loss to North Carolina. “So, obviously, we felt snubbed at the beginning (of the season) and we’ll see how selection Monday plays out for us.”

Tech will find out Monday if it has earned a top-eight national seed when the entire field is announced. Top-eight national seeds will be at home for the regional and, if they advance, the super regional. Jackets coach Danny Hall has been adamant that his team has earned a spot in the top eight.

As of Sunday afternoon, Tech was No. 8 in RPI, which would put the Jackets in some jeopardy of not making it. The Jackets have a strong resume, with series wins over Georgia (No. 3 in RPI), Louisville (No. 9), North Carolina (No. 13) and a two-game sweep of Auburn (No. 18). However, Tech may also have to contend with the perception that the ACC is not as strong as the SEC or Big 12.

The selection committee seems to generally follow RPI in identifying the top eight teams, but being at No. 8 puts the Jackets at more peril of getting bumped in favor of a team such as No. 9 Louisville, No. 10 Stanford, No. 11 Texas Tech or No. 12 West Virginia.

State rival Georgia Bulldogs will be hosting a regional in Athens for a sixth time — their third since 2008.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.