We have four new automatic entrants to the NCAA Tournament! Congratulations go out to Virginia Commonwealth in the CAA, Davidson in the SoCon, Loyola (MD) in the MAAC, and Saint Mary's in the WCC. Thank yous go out to Western Carolina and Gonzaga, as they provided the competition for two overtime championship games going on at the same time last night. Double thanks to WCU for a double overtime thriller in the SoCon AND for recruiting Dikembe Mutumbo's nephew leading to Mutumbo jokes on Twitter and this GIF. I just hope the "Last Channel" button on my remote still works.
Hey, remember yesterday when I asked "What the H?" about the Sun Belt Conference? Well, the semifinals were almost as nuts as the quarterfinals. While #5 seed North Texas took care of business against #9 Arkansas State, the same can not be said about #3 seed Denver. They got beat by #7 seed Western Kentucky, whom you may remember FIRED THEIR COACH when the team was 5-11. They're 9-7 since and 40 minutes away from the NCAA Tournament now.
Over in the Summit League, #4 seed Western Illinois knocked off #1 seed Oral Roberts. This opens the door for the Jackrabbits of #2 seed South Dakota State to snag the automatic bid, but also probably eliminates an Oral Roberts team that had a pretty solid shot at knocking someone out in the first round. Then again, I don't want to be accused of being a Nater.
One game that's not in the listing below is Penn traveling to Princeton in the regular season finale of the Ivy League schedule. If Penn wins, they tie with Harvard and there will have to be a 1 game playoff for the automatic bid later this week. If Princeton wins, then Harvard wins the league and the automatic bid outright and Andy Glockner's dream for a 2 bid Ivy dies. The game is at 6:30pm Central, and while ESPN's scoreboard page doesn't mention it, I remember seeing on Twitter that ESPN3 has picked up the game.
We have three conferences kicking things off today and three conferences holding their championship games today! For all things Big East related, be sure to check out our Big East Championship Open Thread!
Atlantic 10 First Round (all games at campus sites at 6pm Central):
#9 Duquesne (16-14) at #8 UMass (20-10)
#12 Charlotte (13-16) at #5 Saint Joseph's (19-12)
#10 Richmond (16-15) at #7 LaSalle (20-11)
#11 George Washington (10-20) at #6 Dayton (19-11)
Big Sky Semifinals:
#2 Weber State (23-5) vs #3 Portland State (17-13), 6:30pm
#1 Montana (23-6) vs #4 Eastern Washington (15-16), 9pm
Horizon League Championship (on ESPN):
#3 Detroit (21-13) at #1 Valparaiso (22-10), 8pm
MEAC First Round:
#9 Morgan State (9-19) vs #8 Hampton (10-20), 10am
#10 Howard (9-20) vs #7 North Carolina A&T (12-19), 12:30pm
#12 Maryland-Eastern Shore (7-22) vs #5 North Carolina Central (16-14), 3pm
#13 South Carolina State (5-25) vs #4 Bethune-Cookman (15-16), 5:30pm
#11 Florida A&M (8-22) vs #6 Coppin State (14-15), 8pm
Summit League Championship (on ESPN2):
#2 South Dakota State (26-7) vs #4 Western Illinois (18-13), 8pm
Sun Belt Championship (on ESPN2):
#5 North Texas (18-13) vs #7 Western Kentucky (14-18), 6pm