College Basketball NCAA Tournament Automatic Bid Tracker: Iowa and Houston the Last Two to Secure Tickets to the Big Dance
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Conference tournaments are where Cinderella stories begin.
Lives will be changed forever depending on whether or not their team can secure an automatic bid and go dancing into the NCAA Tournament.
The 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament includes 32 teams that will receive auto-bids into March Madness after winning their respective conference tournaments.
As we lead into Selection Sunday, we will continue to update this story to show which teams have secured their spot in the Big Dance.
|Big Sky||Montana State|
|Big West||Cal-State Fullerton|
|Horizon League||Wright State|
|Missouri Valley||Loyola Chicago|
|Mountain West||Boise State|
|Ohio Valley||Murray State|
|Southland||Texas A&M Corpus Christi|
|Summit League||South Dakota State|
|Sun Belt||Georgia State|
|WAC||New Mexico State|
Conference Winner: Houston
After a Final Four run last year, Houston was primed for another big year in 2021-22. It hasn’t been perfect. Kelvin Sampson and company have had to deal with plentiful injuries throughout the season but they find themselves atop the AAC once again and are expected to make another big run in the tournament.
Conference Winner: Virginia Tech
Bubble? Not sure what bubble you’re talking about. Virginia Tech’s in, after upending both North Carolina and Duke in the final two of a four-game tear in the ACC Tournament. Everyone’s using big wins over Duke to boost their stocks these days.
Conference Winner: Vermont
Vermont did what was expected: Bash every single opponent in its way en route to an America East title. The -700 conference tourney favorite came through with a 39-point drubbing of UMBC in the title game. The Catamounts: Very good.
Conference Winner: Richmond
Bubble teams are not happy about seeing Richmond win the A10 as they look like a potential bid-stealer. The Spiders took down No. 1 seed Davidson in the A10 Title. Davidson is likely in the tournament either way so Richmond earning the automatic bid will likely steal a spot. Richmond has had the same core for three seasons and, up until Sunday, they failed to meet expectations. The Spiders finished in sixth in the A10 with a 10-8 record and 22-12 overall.
Conference Winner: Bellarmine
Well, this is awkward. Bellarmine won the conference tournament, defeating Jacksonville in the championship. But Bellarmine is not eligible for the NCAA Tournament as they are only in the second year of a four-year waiting period after moving from Division II to Division I. Jacksonville State will take the automatic bid after winning the ASUN regular season title.
Conference Winner: Kansas
The Jayhawks won the Big 12 Tournament for the first time since 2018. They’ve been tremendous on the perimeter on both ends of the ball this season and enter March Madness winners of four straight against the spread.
Conference Winner: Villanova
Villanova. March. Are you surprised? Jay Wright’s club is back, with a Big East title to boot. There was the two-point loss to UConn in late February, wedged between separate five-game winning streaks.
Conference Winner: Montana State
Northern Colorado was no match for Montana State in the Big Sky Tournament. The Bobcats, as the No. 1 seed, won as +190 favorites. This marks the fourth NCAA Tournament appearance all-time for the program and first since 1996. The Bobcats are still looking for their first tourney win.
Conference Winner: Longwood
Longwood secured its bid to the 2022 NCAA Tournament with a decisive 79-58 victory over Winthrop in the Big South Championship. The Lancers were close to perfect through conference portion of their season with a 15-1 record. They rank sixth in the nation in 3-point percentage (38.6%), which can be an important part of the recipe of pulling off an upset in the Big Dance.
Conference winner: Iowa
Not many people picked Iowa to win the Big Ten this season after losing two key contributors from last year’s team. But they weathered the storm and they are getting hot at the right time. Keegan Murray led the Big Ten in scoring with 23.4 points per game.
Conference Winner: Cal-State Fullerton
Fullerton entered the Big West Conference Tournament with the fifth-highest odds to go dancing at +600 despite earning the No. 2 seed. They proved oddsmakers wrong as they ran through the Big West en route to the championship.
Conference Winner: Delaware
The Blue Hens entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed in the CAA. They went on to beat three of top five teams on their way to winning the conference tournament and securing a bid to the Big Dance. This might make you feel old: Delaware’s top scorer is Jameer Nelson Jr. Yes, that Jameer Nelson.
Conference Winner: UAB
The Blazers can score, and score at will. They’re a top-30 adjusted offense, per KenPom, and clocked out of the regular season averaging an even 80 points per game. UAB was a one-point loss to Rice away from heading into the tournament on a nine-game winning streak.
Conference Winner: Wright State
The Raiders are heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018. Wright State finished with the No. 4 seed in the Horizon League entering the tournament. But they were the highest-ranked team according to KenPom in the Horizon and had the shortest odds to win it.
Conference Winner: Yale
The top four seeds in the Ivy battled it out for the ticket to the Big Dance. Princeton entered as the massive -125 favorite. But Yale shocked the nation when they defeated Princeton 66-64 in the title game.
Conference Winner: Saint Peter’s
Saint Peter’s rattled off four straight win and covers down the regular-season stretch, then pummeled its first two conference tourney opponents before finishing off Monmouth. The Peacocks defense is stacked, ranking top-35 nationally in efficiency.
Conference Winner: Akron
Few teams are running hotter than Akron, which won all three games in the MAC Tournament as an underdog. The program, led by a defense allowing just 62.9 points per game, has rattled off eight straight dubs.
Conference Winner: Norfolk State
The Spartans pulled away from Coppin State in the MEAC final to earn their second straight NCAA Tournament. Norfolk State beat App State in last year’s First Four, before running into a buzz-saw in Gonzaga. The Spartans defense has been stingy this season, ranking No. 2 nationally in opponent FG% (37.8%)
Conference Winner: Loyola-Chicago
Sister Jean is back in the tournament at 102 years young! Loyola-Chicago had been the best team in the conference, according to KenPom, throughout the season. But this was a loaded conference that could have possibly gotten multiple bids had Loyola-Chicago not won the tournament. But it appears that they will be a one-bid conference once again.
Conference Winner: Boise State
All Boise State does is win. The Broncos squeaked out a nail-biter over San Diego State to take the MWC. That’s eight of the last nine for the club, which is hinged on a top-15 scoring defense.
Conference Winner: Bryant
The Bulldogs entered the NEC tournament as the No. 1 seed and showed why with a thrashing over Wagner in the championship. Bryant will enter as one of the hottest teams in the NCAA Tournament after finishing their season by winning 16 of their last 17 games. It will be the school’s first appearance in the Division I NCAA Tournament.
Conference Winner: Murray State
Murray State was the first school to secure a bid to the NCAA Tournament and rightfully so. The Racers have been one of the best mid-major teams of the season, putting together a 30-2 record. They’ll be the only team in the tournament with two or fewer losses. This is also a program that would have likely received an automatic bid had it not won its conference tournament.
Conference Winner: Arizona
Arizona had been the best team in the conference all season long and they proved that in the conference tournament. The Wildcats will likely receive a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Starting point guard Kerr Kriisa went out with an apparent leg injury in the second round of the tournament but this team is loaded from top to bottom.
Conference Winner: Colgate
Matt Langel’s Colgate squad is running like a well-oiled machine. The Raiders blasted Navy to take the Patriot League regular season and conference tournament championships. Colgate’s shooting damn-near 40% from beyond the arc this season, ranking fourth nationally.
Conference Winner: Tennessee
Texas A&M shocked the nation with its run to the SEC Championship but the Volunteers were too much to overcome in the title game. Tennessee dominated Kentucky in the semifinal matchup and showed why they are a national title contender.
Conference Winner: Chattanooga
It wasn’t pretty but the Mocs got it done in the end with a buzzer-beater in overtime to beat Furman and advance to the NCAA Tournament. Chattanooga had been the best team in the Southern Conference throughout the season with a 14-4 conference record and 27-7 overall.
Conference Winner: Texas A&M Corpus Christi
TAMCC entered the Southland Conference Tournament with +500 odds to go dancing. And here we are under first-year head coach Steve Lutz. The Islanders beat both of the top teams in the conference en route to the title. TAMCC relies on their defense to get the job done, specifically forcing turnovers. Their defense ranks 18th in the country in turnover percentage, 43rd in steal percentage and 19th in non-steal percentage.
Conference Winner: South Dakota State
The Jackrabbits were a perfect 18-0 through conference play and got the job done in the Summit League tournament. They are the second-highest scoring team in the nation behind Gonzaga (87.1 PPG). They are No. 1 in the nation in three-point percentage at 44.3%.
Conference Winner: Georgia State
The Panthers are one of the hottest teams in the country heading into the NCAA Tournament. They won three games to take home the Sun Belt crown and finished their season by winning seven games in a row. They’ll head into the tournament with an 18-10 record.
Conference Winner: Texas Southern
Texas Southern took the SWAC as the +190 favorite and No. 2 seed. The Tigers also earned automatic bids from 2015-17.
Conference Winner: Gonzaga
Saint Mary’s gave the Bulldogs a fight in the WCC Championship game. But, in the end, the Zags were just too much to handle. Gonzaga has been ranked in the top five in the country throughout the entire season and has spent a good portion of that at No. 1. They’ve also been the favorite to win the NCAA Tournament throughout the season.
Conference Winner: New Mexico State
New Mexico State is heading back to the tournament for the first time since 2019. That’s not a long time but it is for the Aggies as they only missed the tournament once from 2012-2019. New Mexico State is back to the mid-major power we got accustomed to. They finished 26-6 on the season and won both the WAC regular season and conference tournament title.