Conference tournament tracker: Automatic bids to NCAA bracket, schedules, times, scores, updating brackets

Welcome to Selection Sunday! 

March is loaded with at least 10 of the 20 best days on the sports calendar. Selection Sunday has to rank in the top five. It’s been such a crazy, entertaining, expectation-shifting week in college basketball. On Saturday, 14 automatic bids were handed out. Six more will officially be given on Sunday, getting us to 32 official teams, then making room for another 36 as at-larges. 

Here’s who’s locked up their spot — so far — by winning a conference championship on Saturday.

Duke completed its ACC Tournament run by beating No. 4 Florida State 73-63, finalizing its push to a no-doubt-about-it No. 1 seed. But will the Blue Devils get the No. 1 overall? We will find out at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday on CBS. We know this: Zion Williamson has never looked better, and neither has this season’s Duke squad. 

In the Big East, Villanova became the first team in four-decade history of that conference to win the league tournament three straight years. The top-seeded Wildcats knocked off No. 3 Seton Hall 74-72 in a terrific finale in Manhattan. Seton Hall is easily in as well. The Wildcats are hoping for a No. 4 seed, and if so, they’d likely get to travel to Hartford for the first round of the NCAAs.

The Big 12 watched Iowa State win its fourth Big 12 tournament in the past six years, as the fifth-seeded Cyclones became the first team in Big 12 Tournament history to ever win as a 5. ISU knocked off Kansas, finishing off the worst season for KU in the Big 12 in more than 15 years. 

The Pac-12 may well prove to be a three-bid league after all. Oregon took out top-seeded Washington 68-48, meaning the Ducks will be in the NCAAs for the sixth time in the past seven seasons. Washington is assumed in. Arizona State … probably?

The Mountain West champion is Utah State, which beat San Diego State 64-57 to make its first NCAA Tournament since 2011. In year one, Craig Smith has completely changed the trajectory of the Aggies’ program. They may well end up in an 8/9 game on Thursday or Friday. Dangerous sleeper potential here.

The MAC went according to plan: Buffalo is the champ. The top-seeded Bulls pulled away from Bowling Green down the stretch, winning 87-73. Can Nate Oats’ three-loss team get all the way up to the 5 line? They’ve certainly earned it. 

Conference USA’s champion is also its No. 1 seed: Old Dominion. The Monarchs are in the NCAAs for the first time since 2011 after beating Western Kentucky 62-56. This was the most consistent team in C-USA this season. ODU is deserving of a No. 13 seed. 

Montana is the back-to-back champion in the Big Sky. Travis DeCuire’s Grizzlies are dancing for the second straight season. Montana ranks top-10 in college basketball in effective field goal percentage. This is a small team — but it’s an veteran one. The only team with more experience playing in this tournament: Nevada.

It seems like the WAC sends New Mexico State to the NCAAs every season. This is, in fact, the ninth trip in 14 years for the Aggies, who are 30-4 and not taken nearly seriously enough for how good they are. Some higher seed is about to get an education. NMSU wiped the floor with Grand Canyon, 89-57.

The Big West gave out the final auto bid of Saturday. The best team gets to go to the NCAAs. UC Irvine cruised past Cal State Fullerton. The Anteaters lost one game against Big West competition this season. That’s a sneaky-good No. 13 seed. Keep an eye on Russell Turner’s team if you want a true under-the-radar Cinderella candidate. 

Prairie View A&M won the SWAC title, getting a Dance ticket for the first time since 1998. Great story, and yes, will be a No. 16 seed. Justice served here, as the Panthers were by far the best team in the conference.

In the Southland, Abilene Christian beat New Orleans to make its first NCAA Tournament in school history. It’s been in Division I only six seasons. What a story.  

Things got rolling on Saturday morning with Vermont’s 66-49 win over UMBC in the America East finals. That means the No. 16 seed Cinderella story of the 2018 NCAA Tournament will not be back. You’ll always have Virginia, UMBC. In turn, Vermont will make its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. The Catamounts figure to be the best of any team placed on the 15 or 16 seed line. 

In the MEAC, North Carolina Central won its conference championship for the third consecutive season, knocking off No. 1 Norfolk State, 50-47, in Saturday afternoon’s title tilt. The Eagles project as a No. 16 seed.

Here are the conference tournaments in action on Sunday (all times Eastern):

  • Ivy LeagueFinals — Harvard vs. Yale, 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • SECFinals — Tennessee vs. Auburn, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Atlantic 10Finals — St. Bonaventure vs. Saint Louis, 1 p.m. (CBS)
  • Sun BeltFinals — Georgia State vs. UT-Arlington, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • AAC: Finals — Houston vs. Cincinnati, 3:15 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Big Ten: Finals — Michigan State vs. Michigan, 3:30 p.m. (CBS)

We’ve got more information below on all the other teams that have already secured their spot in the Dance.

Be sure to bookmark/favorite this page, as it is where you’ll want to frequently check in to get the fastest and latest updates on who is heading to the NCAAs.

2019 conference tournaments
Conference Tournament site Dates Champion
AAC Memphis, Tenn. March 14-17
ACC Charlotte, N.C. March 12-16 Duke
America East Campus sites March 9, 12 & 16 Vermont
Atlantic 10 Brooklyn, N.Y. March 13-17
Atlantic Sun Campus sites March 4-10 Liberty
Big East New York March 13-16 Villanova
Big Sky Boise, Idaho March 11-16 Montana
Big South Campus sites March 5-10 Gardner-Webb
Big Ten Chicago, Ill. March 13-17
Big 12 Kansas City March 13-16 Iowa State
Big West Anaheim March 14-16 UC Irvine
Colonial North Charleston, S.C. March 9-12 Northeastern
Conference USA Frisco, Texas March 13-16 Old Dominion
Horizon League Detroit March 5-12 Northern Kentucky
Ivy League New Haven, Conn. March 16-17
MAAC Albany, N.Y. March 7-11 Iona
MAC Campus sites
Cleveland, Ohio
March 11-16 Buffalo
MEAC Norfolk, Va. March 11-16 North Carolina Central
Missouri Valley St. Louis March 7-10 Bradley
Mountain West Las Vegas March 13-16 Utah State
Northeast Campus sites March 6, 9 & 12 Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley Evansville, Ind. March 6-9 Murray State
Pac-12 Las Vegas March 13-16 Oregon
Patriot Campus sites March 5, 7, 10 & 13 Colgate
SEC Nashville, Tenn. March 13-17
Southern Asheville, N.C March 8-11 Wofford
Southland Katy, Texas March 13-17 Abilene Christian
Summit Sioux Falls, S.D. March 9-12 North Dakota State
Sun Belt New Orleans March 12-17
SWAC Birmingham, Ala. March 12, 15-16 Prairie View A&M 
WAC Las Vegas March 13-16 New Mexico State
West Coast Las Vegas March 7-12 Saint Mary’s

And here’s what to know about who else has punched their tickets so far. 

Patriot: Colgate

For the first time since 1996, the Colgate Raiders will play in the Division I men’s basketball NCAA Tournament. Top-seeded Colgate knocked off No. 2 Bucknell 94-80 on Wednesday night to lock up a bid. The Raiders are 24-10; it’s the winningest season in school history. 

Patience has paid off. Matt Langel is in his eighth season at Colgate and has brought the program back to prominence. The Patriot League gets new blood into the NCAAs; Bucknell had won three of the previous conference tournaments. The league has sent six different programs in the past eight years. A lot of variety from one of the more underrated mid-major leagues in America. Colgate tracks, potentially, as a No. 14 seed.  

WCC: Saint Mary’s

Well, we have a stunner. 

On Tuesday night in the WCC final, second-seeded Saint Mary’s — which had little-to-no-chance at earning an at-large bid with a loss to No. 1 Gonzaga in the championship game — upset Gonzaga 60-47 to earn the automatic bid and give the program its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in 18 seasons under Randy Bennett.

It was the school’s first win over a No. 1-ranked team in history. In fact, it was the first time SMC won over a top-10 AP-ranked team. Saint Mary’s snapped Gonzaga’s perfect run in WCC and potentially put the Zags’ No. 1 seed outlook in peril. We’ll have to wait and see on Selection Sunday. It’s still a crowded field for the top line; as of Thursday night, the only true luck for a No. 1 seed is Virginia. 

Horizon: Northern Kentucky

No. 2 Northern Kentucky was dominant from the outset of the Horizon League title game, beating No. 1 Wright State 77-66 and avenging last season’s champ-game defeat. This is the second Big Dance appearance in three seasons for the Norse, who are not even a decade into Division I existence. John Brannen is an underrated coach. 

NEC: Fairleigh Dickinson

In the NEC title game, No. 2 Fairleigh Dickinson defeated No. 1 St. Francis (PA) 85-76 on the Red Flash’s home floor, giving the Knights their second NCAA tourney appearance under coach Greg Herenda; FDU last made it into the big bracket in 2016. The NEC title game is often a dramatic one, but FDU controlled St. Francis most of the night. It’s FDU’s sixth appearance in the NCAAs.

Colonial: Northeastern

And in the CAA final, No. 1 Hofstra fell at the hands of Vasa Pusica and No. 2 Northeastern, 82-74. Pusica was out of his mind, sinking seven 3-pointers and downing the Pride and their standout senior, Justin Wright-Foreman, who is the second leading scorer in college basketball this season (27.0). For Northeastern, it’s the Huskies’ second trip under coach Bill Coen, the first coming back in 2015. 

Summit: North Dakota State

Meantime, the Summit League championship saw No. 4 North Dakota State upset No. 2 Omaha 73-63 to make its second NCAAs in five seasons under Dave Richman. The Bison figure to be a 16 seed. Incredibly, just two out of 11 leagues have seen their No. 1 seed win the auto bid: Wofford in the SoCon and Iona in the MAAC.

MAAC: Iona

The MAAC Tournament championship game went to Iona for the fourth straight season. Tim Cluess’ Gaels won 81-60 over Monmouth in a No. 1 vs. No. 6 matchup. Iona has made the NCAAs in six out of nine seasons under Cluess, making them one of the most consistent mid-major programs of the past decade. Iona is likely to be a 16 seed in what’s been a good year, but this is not a vintage, high-level-offense Gaels squad.

SoCon: Wofford

The Wofford Terriers will take a 20-game winning streak and the Southern Conference automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with what’s surely to be a quality seed.

The Terriers came back to win on Monday night against UNC Greensboro, 70-58, in the SoCon title game. In doing so, Mike Young’s team could bump up another seed line. Heading into the title game, Jerry Palm projected Wofford as an 8 seed. Might a 7 or a 6 be possible? Why not? This is the fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, all coming since 2010.  

Atlantic Sun: Liberty

The Liberty Flames are on their way to the fourth Big Dance in school history. Liberty won at top-seeded Lipscomb for the second time this season, doing so in a game that featured 23 lead changes. A 74-68 final means the 2018-19 Flames squad joins the 1993-94, 2003-04 and 2012-13 teams to break on through to the big bracket. A 13 seed is likely for the 28-6 Flames.

Liberty won in spite of what was unequivocally the most hilarious and egregious flop in college basketball this season. 

Big South: Gardner-Webb

On Sunday afternoon, Gardner-Webb defeated second-seeded Radford — the reigning Big South tourney champs — to make its first NCAA Tournament in program history. The Runnin’ Bulldogs earned it: prior to beating Radford, Gardner-Webb upended top-seeded Campbell on its home floor in the Big South semis. The tourney newcomers figure to land as a 16 seed on Selection Sunday.

Missouri Valley: Bradley

In the Missouri Valley Tournament, Bradley made history: the Braves scored just 15 points by halftime against Northern Iowa, then roared back from an 18-point deficit to pull off the biggest comeback victory in MVC title game history. The final: 57-54. The Braves will be in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 years. Back in 2006, Bradley was in via an at-large; Sunday’s victory is the first conference tournament championship for the school since 1988. Bradley will either be a 15 or 16 seed depending on how the low-major conference tournaments unfold in the coming week. 

Ohio Valley: Murray State

On Saturday night, the Ohio Valley Conference tourney handed out the first of 68 bids to the 2019 NCAAs. Murray State played a strong game and won 77-65 over top-seeded Belmont, creating an interesting bubble debate in the process. Murray State’s win means Ja Morant, a potential top-five pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, will be back in the NCAAs for a second consecutive season. 

The Racers, who figure to be a 13 seed, will be must-watch no matter what team they wind up against in the first round. With Morant’s talent, this squad is obviously a prime candidate for one a first-weekend Cinderella story. At 27-4, Matt McMahon’s team poses a real threat to just about anyone it will see in the NCAA Tournament. The Racers will have the longest official wait of any team until Selection Sunday: eight days. 

Categories: National Sports

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