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NCAA men’s basketball tournament: Five automatic bids to be won on March 16

The clock is quickly tick-tocking its way down to the NCAA Men’s Tournament Selection Show but there are still five of the 32 automatic bids still up for grabs on March 16.

Billy Donovan has the No. 1 Florida Gators entertaining the Kentucky Wildcats for the SEC crown.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The five automatic bids on March 16 will go to the champions of the SEC, ACC, Big-10, Atlantic- 10 and the Sun Belt.

Second- seeded Kentucky (24-9) will take on to top-seeded Florida (31-2) for the SEC title. In the ACC, it’s third-seeded Duke (26-7) against No. 1 seed Virginia (27-6). It’s the battle of Michigan for the Big-10 crown as top-seeded Michigan (25-7) takes on No. 3 Michigan State (19-12). Second-seeded VCU (26-7) will take on No. 4 St. Joseph’s (23-9) in the finals of the Atlantic-10.

All eight of the above teams are locks for the NCAA tournament, essentially meaning that game between No. 1 seed Georgia State (25-7) and No. 3 Louisiana-Lafayette (22-11) for the Sun Belt championship is the biggest game of the day as the winner will likely be the sole representative of the conference.

The rest of the article will look at the teams that earned automatic bids by winning their conference tournament or conference regular season title (Ivy League).

Louisville Cardinals (29-5): Won the American Athletic Conference as the tournament’s No. 1 seed. The Cardinals defeated No. 4 Connecticut 71-61 in the finals.

Albany Great Danes (18-14): Won the America East Conference as the tournament’s No. 4 seed. The Great Danes defeated No. 2 Stony Brook 69-60 in the finals.

Mercer Bears (26-8): Won the Atlantic Sun as the tournament’s top seed. The Bears defeated No. 2 Florida Gulf Coast 68-60 in the finals.

Iowa State Cyclones (26-7): Won the Big-12 as the tournament’s No. 3 seed. The Cyclones defeated No. 7 4-65 in the finals.

Providence Friars (23-11): Won the Big East as the tournament’s No. 4 seed. The Friars defeated No. 2 Creighton 65-58 in the finals.

Weber State Wildcats (19-11): Won the Big Sky as the tournament’s No. 1 seed. The Wildcats defeated No. 3 North Dakota 88-67 in the finals.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (21-12): Won the Big South as the tournament’s No. 2 seed. The Chanticleers defeated No. 4 Winthrop 76-61 in the finals.

Cal Poly Mustangs (13-19): Won the Big West as the tournament’s No. 6 seed. The Mustangs defeated No. 5 Cal State Northridge 61-59 in the finals.

Delaware Fightin Blue Hens (25-9): Won the Colonial Athletic Conference as the tournament’s top-seed. The Fighting Blue Hens defeated No. 3 William and Mary 75-74 in the finals.

Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (21-12): Won Conference USA as the tournament’s No. 4 seed. The Golden Hurricane defeated No. 2 Louisiana Tech 69-60 in the finals.

Milwaukee Panthers (21-13): Won the Horizon League as the conference’s No. 5 seed. The Panthers defeated No. 3 Wright State 69-63 in the finals.

Harvard Crimson (26-4): The Crimson won the Ivy League regular season crown.

Manhattan Jaspers (25-7): Won the MAAC as the tournament’s No.2 seed. The Jaspers defeated top-seeded Iona 71-68 in the finals.

Western Michigan Broncos (23-9): Won the MAC as the West division’s No. 2 seed. The Broncos defeated Toledo, the West division’s top seed, 98-77 in the finals.

North Carolina Central Eagles: Won the MEAC as the tournament’s top seed. The Eagles defeated No. 4 Morgan State 71-62

Wichita State Shockers (34-0): Won the Missouri Valley Conference as the tournament’s top seed. The Shockers defeated Indiana State 83-69 in the finals.

New Mexico Lobos (27-6): Won the Mountain West Conference as the tournament’s second seed. The Lobos defeated top-seeded San Diego State 64-58.

Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers (16-16): Won the NEC as the tournament’s No. 5 seed. The Mountaineers defeated top-seed Robert Morris 88-71.

Eastern Kentucky Colonels (24-9): Won the Ohio Valley Conference as the No. 2 seed out of the East division. The Colonials defeated the East division’s top-seed Belmont 79-73 in the finals.

UCLA Bruins (26-8): won the Pac-12 as the tournament’s as the No. 2 seed. The Bruins defeated top-seed Arizona 74-71 in the finals.

American Eagles (20-12): Won the Patriot League as the tournament’ s No. 2 seed. The Eagles knocked off No. 1 seed Boston University 55-36.

Wofford Terriers (20-12): Won the Southern Conference as the tournament’s No. 3 seed. The Terriors defeated No. 5 Western Carolina 56-53 in the finals.

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (31-2): Won the Southland Conference as the tournament’s top-seed. The Lumberjacks defeated No. 3 Sam Houston State 68-49 in the finals.

Texas Southern Tigers (19-14): Won the SWAC as the tournament’s No. 3 seed. The Tigers top No.8 Prairie View A&M 78-73 in the finals.

North Dakota State Bison (25-6): Won the Summitt League as the tournament’s No. 1 seed. The Bison defeated No. 2 India-Purdue Fort Wayne 60-57 in the finals.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (28-6): Won the WCC as the tournament’s top-seed. The Bulldogs defeated No. 2 BYU 75-64 in the finals.

New Mexico State Aggies (26-9): Won the WAC as the tournament’s No. 2 seed. The Aggies defeated No. 5 Idaho 77-55 in the finals.

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