Congrats to Chattanooga, Iona, and UNC-Wilmington for locking up their automatic bids to the NCAA tournament.
There is a downside for Marquette fans. Iona & UNCW picked up their bids by knocking off #1 seeds, thus sending those regular season champs to the NIT. So far, nine #1 seeds have lost. Three of them, Wichita State, Valparaiso, and Monmouth, have possible at-large hopes. They may not be very good at large hopes, but they're at least in the conversation. That means seven teams are already in the NIT, meaning that there's nearly two full seed lines wiped off the board for at-large hopefuls like Marquette.
NYC Buckets updated their NIT Bracketology after everything wrapped up last night. They have Wichita State and Valparaiso in the NCAA field, but Monmouth out and as a #1 seed in the NIT. Marquette currently sits as a #6 seed, with all four #8 seeds and one #7 seed occupied by automatic bids. That puts MU somewhere between three and six spots from the cut line. Losing to St. John's tomorrow would be very bad.
We have four more autobids getting handed out tonight: Horizon League, NEC, Summit League, and WCC. The NEC and WCC are the two of most interest to Marquette fans, since #1 seeds Wagner and Saint Mary's are still alive. They're the only #1 seeds playing today, but that's because we have a bunch of leagues kicking off their tournaments today.
NCAA Automatic Bids: Austin Peay (OVC), Chattanooga (SoCon), Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun), Iona (MAAC), UNC-Asheville (Big South), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Northern Iowa (MVC), Yale (Ivy)
NIT Automatic Bids: Belmont (OVC), Bucknell (Patriot League), High Point (Big South), IPFW (Summit League), Hofstra (CAA), North Florida (Atlantic Sun)
Regular Season Champs Forced To Wait: Wichita State (MVC), Monmouth (MAAC), Valparaiso (Horizon League)
All times Central.
ACC FIRST ROUND (ESPN2)
11am: #12 North Carolina State (15-16) vs #13 Wake Forest (11-19)
1:30pm: #11 Florida State (18-12) vs #14 Boston College (7-24)
BIG SKY OPENING ROUND (Eversport.tv)
2pm: #8 Portland State (12-17) vs #9 Northern Colorado (10-20)
4:30pm: #5 North Dakota (15-14) vs #12 Southern Utah (6-23)
7:30pm: #7 Montana State (14-16) vs #10 Sacramento State (13-16)
10pm: #6 Eastern Washington (16-14) vs #11 Northern Arizona (5-24)
CONFERENCE USA FIRST ROUND (ASN)
4pm: #12 Florida Atlantic (7-24) vs #13 Texas-San Antonio (5-26)
HORIZON LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP (ESPN)
6pm: #3 Wright State (22-12) vs #4 Green Bay (22-12)
MEAC OPENING ROUND (WatchESPN)
3pm: #8 Maryland Eastern Shore (10-21) vs #9 Morgan State (8-21)
5:30pm: #7 North Carolina Central (12-18) vs #10 Howard (12-19)
NEC CHAMPIONSHIP (ESPN2)
6pm: #2 Fairleigh Dickinson (17-14) vs #1 Wagner (22-9)
SWAC OPENING ROUND (SWAC Digital Network)
2:30pm: #7 Mississippi Valley State (6-26) vs #10 Grambling State (6-23)
8:30pm: #8 Alabama A&M (10-17) vs #9 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (8-24)
SUMMIT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP (ESPN2)
8pm: #2 South Dakota State (25-7) vs #5 North Dakota State (20-12)
WEST COAST CHAMPIONSHIP (ESPN)
8pm: #1 Saint Mary's (27-4) vs #2 Gonzaga (25-7)