WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Kentucky, Kent State and Valparaiso were announced as the rest of the bracket at Purdue's NCAA Regional at U.S. Steel Yard ballpark in Gary, Ind. Action will begin Friday, June 1, with the Boilers taking on No. 4 seed Valparaiso at 7 p.m. CT (local time).
Kentucky is the No. 2 seed and Kent State the No. 3 seed. Those teams will square off Friday at 3 p.m. CT (local time). Friday's winners and losers play Saturday at 3 and 7 p.m. CT (local time). Losers at 3, winners at 7. It's a double-elimination format with two games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A single game Monday night is also a possibility.
U.S. Steel Yard is the home of the Gary SouthShore RailCats, an independent professional team that is a member of the American Association. As a reminder, Gary and Northwest Indiana are part of the Central Time Zone.
Tickets will go on sale thru the RailCats' box office and RailCats.com on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT. Fans can call 219-882-2255 or via the online option. Ticket prices are $8 per game and $4 for children and students with a valid school ID. There is a convenience fee of $1.75 per ticket for online sales. Discounted $4 tickets for students and children are only available by phone.
Purdue's Gary Regional was paired with the Oregon's Eugene Regional. The winners will meet in a Super Regional the weekend of June 8-10. Oregon (the No. 5 national seed), Cal State Fullerton, Indiana State and Austin Peay comprise the Eugene Regional.
Purdue has compiled a 63-18 all-time record against Valparaiso in a series that dates back to 1949. The 2011 meeting in Northwest Indiana was rained out. The Boilermakers have won four straight in the series dating back to 2006. The Crusaders' last win was in 2005 in a game that was played at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary.
Purdue (44-12) is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1987. Valparaiso (35-23) is in the Division I NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1968. The Crusaders played in the 2010 Horizon League Tournament when it was played at U.S. Steel Yard.
The Boilermakers have played both Kentucky (43-16) and Kent State (41-17) during Doug Schreiber's 14-year tenure as head coach. Purdue is 1-5 vs. the Wildcats, playing three-game series in Lexington in 2003 and 2008. The Boilers defeated the Golden Flashes 18-11 in Louisville in March 1999.
Kentucky was the last team in the country to suffer a loss this year, opening the year 22-0 before dropping a March 23 series opener at Tennessee. Nine of the Wildcats' 16 losses have come in the last month. But four of those nine losses over the last month were against a Mississippi State team that got hot and won the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Kentucky is playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.
Kent State won the Mid-American Conference Tournament for the fourth year in a row, winning 29 of its 32 games against league rivals this year including the tournament. The Golden Flashes enter the Regional having won 17 consecutive games dating back to April 27. That represents the longest active win streak in the country.
Valparaiso had to play an if-necessary game Sunday against Illinois-Chicago at the Horizon League Tournament but managed to win the event at the Flames' home field. The Crusaders are 13-3 in May. They won the Horizon League regular-season title for the first time in their fifth year as a member of the conference, surging to the top of the standings with an 18-3 stretch after getting off to a 4-5 start.
Purdue Boilermakers (No. 1 seed) Conference: Big Ten
NCAA Qualification: Big Ten automatic bid
Records: 44-12, 17-7 Big Ten
Head Coach: Doug Schreiber Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 1987
Kentucky Wildcats (No. 2 seed) Conference: Southeastern
NCAA Qualification: At-large bid
Records: 43-16, 18-12 SEC
Head Coach: Gary Henderson
Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2008
Kent State Golden Flashes (No. 3 seed) Conference: Mid-American
NCAA Qualification: MAC automatic bid
Records: 41-17, 24-3 MAC
Head Coach: Scott Stricklin
Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2011
Valparaiso Crusaders (No. 4 seed) Conference: Horizon League
NCAA Qualification: Horizon League automatic bid
Records: 35-23, 22-8 Horizon
Head Coach: Tracy Woodson
Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 1968