Well, the Missouri Valley went and lost its damn mind yesterday.
#4 seed Bradley (shouts to Marquette alum and Bradley head coach Brian Wardle) is now the top seed remaining in Arch Madness, as #8 Drake, #7 Valparaiso, and #6 Missouri State all advanced out of the quarterfinals yesterday. The question becomes whether #1 seed Northern Iowa becomes a bid thief. The most recent update on Bracket Matrix still has them in the field while appearing on 94 of the 101 entries. It’s unclear how many of them still have them as the MVC autobid, though.
In any case, they’re the first #1 seed to go out, and thus we have an NIT Automatic Bids list to start. The Panthers were, however, not the only #1 seed to go out, as Radford got bumped out of the Big South tournament in the semifinals by #5 Hampton.
The only other upset of the day came in the SoCon, where #9 VMI took out #8 Samford in a first round game. That’s one of those “technically an upset, but we’ll see where this all goes in the next round” kind of upsets. After all, they’re getting East Tennessee State in the quarterfinals, and the Buccaneers find themselves on the edge of getting an at-large bid if they don’t win the tournament.
Joining the party for the first time today is the America East (aka AE, aka the best conference), the CAA, the Summit League, and the Sun Belt. America East has their top eight teams playing in quarterfinal games, so that’s worth keeping an eye on, as is the Summit League. They’re doing that split quarterfinals thing they like to do so, in theory, the top two seeds get a day off before playing in the semifinals. AE doesn’t do that because they’re a campus site tournament, so there’s days off built into the schedule anyway.
Two NCAA tournament bids will be handed out today. The Mountain West is first, with the top two seeds reaching the title game. The same situation transpired in the Ohio Valley, and that game is set to tip off not long after the MWC game wraps up. If San Diego State wins, the Mountain West might be a one-bid league, as Bracket Matrix currently has Utah State sitting outside the cutline. I’m all for that league getting two teams in, so it looks like I’m cheering for the Aggies there. OVC is definitely a one-bid league this year, but it’s the top two names in the conference, Belmont and Murray State, squaring off in tonight’s championship.
NIT Automatic Bids
Here’s the schedule for the day, with all times Central.
AMERICA EAST QUARTERFINALS (ESPN+)
CAA FIRST ROUND (FloHoops)
MISSOURI VALLEY SEMIFINALS (CBS Sports Network)
MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP (CBS)
NEC SEMIFINALS (WatchESPN)
OHIO VALLEY CHAMPIONSHIP (ESPN2)
SOCON QUARTERFINALS (ESPN+)
11am: #1 East Tennessee State (27-4) vs #9 Virginia Military (9-23)
1:30pm: #4 Mercer (17-14) vs #5 Western Carolina (18-11)
5pm: #2 Furman (25-6) vs #7 Wofford (17-15)
7:30pm: #3 UNC-Greensboro (23-8) vs #6 Chattanooga (19-12)