Its Selection Sunday. The field is almost set for arguably the best month of the year. Some teams have already earned there ticket to the big dance via an Conference Championship victories which awards you with an automatic bid for the tournament. We currently have five automatic bids left for this Sunday March 11th. The American Athletic Conference, Atlantic 10, Ivy League, SEC, and Sun Belt automatic bids will be decided today. All other conferences have already crowned champions. Lets take a look at who they are.
- ACC – Virginia
- American East – University of Maryland-Baltimore County
- Atlantic Sun – Lipscomb
- Big East – Villanova
- Big Sky – Montana
- Big South – Radford
- Big Ten – Michigan
- Big 12 – Kansas
- Big West – Cal State Fullerton
- Colonial – Charleston
- Conference USA – Marshall
- Horizon League – Wright League
- MAAC – Iona
- MAC – Buffalo
- MEAC – North Carolina Central
- Missouri Valley – Loyola (Chicago)
- Mountain West – San Diego State
- Northeast – LIU Brooklyn
- Ohio Valley – Murray State
- Pac 12 – Arizona
- Patriot – Bucknell
- Southern – UNC Greensboro
- Southland – Stephen F. Austin
- Summit – South Dakota State
- SWAC – Texas Southern
- WAC – New Mexico State
- West Coast – Gonzaga
Some teams that have earned automatic bids are teams that some people have never heard of, including myself. So lets take a look at some teams that maybe bust some brackets this year.
UMBC – University of Maryland-Baltimore County won a thriller against top seeded Vermont. Lyles, in the final moments of the game waived off a play from his coach and improvised. He hit a long range three-pointer to send UMBC dancing. Maryland-Baltimore had lost 23 straight games to Vermont in a span of 10 years. They are at a all time high right now and i believe they can carry that into the tournament. Guard K.J. Maura said after the win “I grew up watching Steph Curry play for Davidson in the tournament, and now to get to play for it is awesome” Can they stir up some magic like Curry and Davidson?
New Mexico State – The Aggie’s earned there bid to the big dance by beating GCU in a well fought game. With a little more experience under there belt I wouldn’t be surprised if the Aggie’s get a first round win or more. With great players like Zach Lofton and Jemerrio Jones who is the Western Athletic Conference of the year. Dominating players down low like Johnny McCants and Johnathon Wilkins. This team has Cinderella written all over it.
Bucknell – The Patriot League Championship was an overpowering performance by Bucknell. Earning them a second straight automatic bid to the big dance. Stephen Brown scored 22 points and reverse Nate Sestina also added 16 more points. Bucknell is coming in hot to the NCAA tournament. They had an overall record of 15-1 at home this season, and they have won 18 of there last 19 games. Bucknell is heating up at the perfect moment.