Congrats to (deep breath) Northeastern, Northern Kentucky, Fairleigh Dickinson, North Dakota State, and Saint Mary’s for picking up the five automatic bids that were handed out last night. Yes, that’s right, the Gaels beat #1 in the AP poll Gonzaga in the WCC title game, and it actually wasn’t close at the end: 60-47. SMC snagging the autobid pushes the Bulldogs into an at-large spot and officially shrinks the bubble by one spot. After last night, the Gaels are #34 in the NET and just 2-6 in Quadrant 1 games and 3-2 in Quadrant 2 games. They also have three Quadrant 3 losses, and while Bracket Matrix has installed them into the field as the best automatic bid team below the at-large cutline, I really don’t think they were anywhere close to the bubble. Hopefully this ends up forcing teams like Texas and Indiana out of the field of 68 and not Belmont or UNC-Greensboro.
There’s only one title game today, and that’s coming out of the Patriot League. The top two teams are squaring off in that game, and you can catch it on CBS Sports Network tonight. There are 13 leagues total in action today, which is kind of bananas. We get DAYTIME BASKETBALL~! from the ACC, Big Sky, Mountain West, and Pac-12, although you can only watch the Pac-12 games if you get Pac-12 Network.
I do want to give a special note/shoutout to Conference USA here. If you scroll down to their section here, you’ll notice that they have games with staggered start times, but I’m not noting a home or road team there. Yes, they’re playing at one site and yes, there will be two games going on at once. How does this work, you ask? Well, because they’re playing at The Star in Frisco, TX, the practice home of the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve slapped down two courts on the indoor football field at The Star, and tossed up bleachers next to both courts. It’s really smart.
For Marquette fans, the most likely audience of this article, the Big East tournament gets started tonight with a doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. The one that’s important to the #2 seeded Golden Eagles is the second game between #7 seed St. John’s and #10 seed DePaul. The winner plays MU tomorrow night, so keep your peepers pointed at that one as you see fit.
NCAA Tournament Automatic Bids
Atlantic Sun: Liberty
Big South: Gardner-Webb
Horizon League: Northern Kentucky
Missouri Valley: Bradley
NEC: Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Summit League: North Dakota State
WCC: Saint Mary’s
Here’s the schedule for today! Enjoy!
All times Central.