College Basketball Tournament Seeding & Qualifying Implications for All 15 Remaining Conferences

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We have almost made it through the entire regular season. It’s been a wild and crazy ride, but we got through it. There are 15 conferences that will finish up league play on either Saturday or Sunday with still a lot to be determined in terms of seeding, byes, and in some cases … qualifying for the postseason.

Let’s take a quick look at all 15, so you can at least be aware of who’s playing for what.

In some of these smaller conferences where at-larges aren’t a possibility, teams with nothing to play for could potentially rest certain players in the regular-season finale ahead of the conference tournament.


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American Athletic Conference Outlook


AAC Tournament
March 11 – 14

All 11 AAC teams will compete in the AAC Tournament, which will take place in Forth Worth, Texas, between March 11-14.

What We Know

We already know which five schools will receive a bye:

  • Houston (vs. Memphis on Sunday)
  • Wichita State (vs. South Florida)
  • Memphis (@ Houston on Sunday)
  • SMU (regular season finished)
  • Cincinnati (@ ECU on Sunday)

SMU and Cincinnati are already locked into the 4/5 quarterfinals matchup, The No. 6 through No. 9 seeds are also already locked in:

  • No. 6 UCF (regular season finished)
  • No. 7 Tulsa (regular season finished)
  • No. 8 South Florida (@ Wichita State)
  • No. 9 Temple (regular season finished)

To Be Determined

We still don’t know the regular-season champion or the order of the top three seeds. Here’s the scenario:

  • If Wichita State beats South Florida at home on Saturday, the Shockers clinch the AAC regular-season title and No. 1 seed.
  • If Wichita State loses, that distinction would go to the winner of Memphis at Houston on Sunday. The Tigers and Cougars would face off for the No. 2 seed if the Shockers don’t stumble on Saturday.

We know the bottom two seeds (Tulane, ECU) but not the order. ECU would get the No. 10 seed if it beats an unmotivated Cincy team on Sunday or the No. 11 seed with a loss. Exciting stuff.


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ACC Outlook


ACC Tournament
March 9 – 13

All 15 teams in the ACC qualify for the conference tournament, which will take place from March 9-13 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Heading into the final weekend of the season, no team is locked into a seed.

What We Know

Almost everything is up for grabs on the final day of the ACC regular-season except for the bottom three seeds. Those are locked in:

  • (13) Miami
  • (14) Wake Forest
  • (15) Boston College

To Be Determined 

The top four seeds receive a double-bye, while the next four (5-9) receive a single bye. We know three of the top four seeds in Virginia, FSU and Virginia Tech. Many in ACC circles are upset that the Hokies clinched a double-bye after canceling games against UNC, Florida State (2x), Louisville, and NC State, but that’s just part of this crazy season.

Here are some other tidbits on moving day in the ACC:

  • FSU can clinch its second-straight regular-season title and No. 1 seed with a win at Notre Dame on Saturday. If the Seminoles get upset, Virginia could steal the title and top seed with a win at Louisville.
  • Louisville can clinch the No. 3 seed with a win over Virginia on Saturday. If the Cardinals lose, Georgia Tech will slide into the No. 4 seed.
  • Unless Pittsburgh beats Clemson and Duke beats UNC, Syracuse will be the No. 8 seed. The Orange would face No. 9 seed Duke if the Blue Devils beat UNC on Saturday. They’d face NC State if UNC wins.
  • A Duke loss would keep it as the No. 10 seed (no bye), which means the Blue Devils would face Boston College on Wednesday.
  • There’s a chance that Duke-UNC could meet again in the 7-10 matchup if UNC wins on Saturday (assuming Duke beats Boston College, of course.)

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Big 12 Conference Outlook


Big 12 Tournament
March 10 – 13

All 10 teams in the league are scheduled to participate in the Big 12 Tourney, which will run between March 10-13 in Kansas City, Missouri.

What We Know

We actually know quite a bit. Baylor clinched its first Big 12 regular-season title in over 70 years, giving the Bears the top overall seed.

We also know the five other teams that will receive a bye:

  • West Virginia (11-5)
  • Kansas (12-6)
  • Texas (10-6)
  • Oklahoma State (10-7)
  • Texas Tech (9-7)

The two first-round matchups on Wednesday are already set as well:

  • (8) TCU vs. (9) Kansas State
  • (7) Oklahoma vs. (10) Iowa State

Still searching for their first conference win, the Cyclones will host Kansas State in a game that has zero conference tournament implications.

To Be Determined

It’s not a huge deal, but we don’t know the order of seeds No. 2-5 — all of which will receive a bye. Here is the most likely scenario:

  • West Virginia locks up the No. 2 seed with a win in Morgantown over Oklahoma State on Saturday.
  • Texas would then claim the No. 3 seed with a home win over TCU on Sunday.
  • Those two results would drop idle Kansas to the No. 4 seed.
  • Texas Tech could then move up to the No. 5 seed with a win at Baylor. If not, the Red Raiders get the No. 6 and Oklahoma State slides into the No. 4 seed.

For what it’s worth, I assume Oklahoma State will sit Cade Cunningham on Saturday. Why risk further injury to your star when you already have a bye locked up? The difference between a potential No. 4 seed vs. No 6 seed is fairly meaningless.


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Big East Conference Outlook


Big East Tournament
March 10 – 13

All 11 Big East teams will compete in the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden between March 10-13.

What We Know

Here are the seeds that are locked in heading into the final day of the regular season on Saturday:

  • (1) Villanova
  • (2) Creighton
  • (3) Connecticut
  • (11) DePaul

To Be Determined

There are still two coveted first-round byes up for grabs for whichever teams finish with the fourth and fifth seeds. That race for two spots will come down to four teams: St. John’s, Seton Hall, Xavier and Georgetown.

It’s a bit messy, but here’s how each of the teams could clinch a bye:

  • Seton Hall: Beat St. John’s or Marquette beats Xavier
  • St. John’s: Beat Seton Hall or Marquette beats Xavier and UConn beats Georgetown
  • Xavier: Beat Marquette
  • Georgetown: Beat UConn and Marquette beats Xavier and Seton Hall beats St. John’s

Basically, Seton Hall, Xavier and St. John’s all control their own destiny for a bye with a win on Saturday. Xavier clinches a bye with a win but has no other path with a loss. Georgetown needs a win and help.

Providence, Marquette and Butler are all still battling for seeds but have no path to a first-round bye.

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Big Sky Conference Outlook

The Big Sky conference tournament will take place in Boise, Idaho, between March 10-13. All 11 teams will participate.

What We Know

The bottom three seeds are locked in:

  • (9) Sacramento State
  • (10) Northern Arizona
  • (11) Idaho

Of that trio, only Sacramento State has a regular-season game remaining at Montana State on Saturday.

We also know the teams that will finish in the top five of the standings and receive a first-round bye:

  • Southern Utah (11-2)
  • Weber State (12-3)
  • Eastern Washington (11-3)
  • Idaho State (8-5)
  • Montana State (8-5)

Montana State can move up to the No. 4 seed with a win on Saturday over Sacramento State, but the game is essentially meaningless. Either way, it will play Idaho State on Thursday.

To Be Determined

We don’t know the regular-season Big Sky champion or the order of the top three seeds. Here’s how each could clinch the top spot:

  • Northern Arizona: Win over Portland State
  • Weber State: Win over Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona loses
  • Eastern Washington: Northern Arizona and Weber State both lose

Also, the 6-8 seeds will be some combination of Montana, Portland State and Northern Colorado.


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Big Ten Conference Outlook


Big Ten Tournament
March 10 – 14

All 14 Big Ten schools will battle it out in Indianapolis for the conference tournament between March 10-14.

What We Know

The top four teams receive a double-bye, while seeds 5-10 get a single bye. The only seeds we know as of this moment are:

  • (1) Michigan
  • (2) Illinois
  • (14) Nebraska

To Be Determined

Three teams are fighting for the final pair of double-byes. Here’s what they each need to happen:

  • Iowa will get one of the double-byes unless Ohio State beats Illinois, Purdue beats Indiana and then the Hawkeyes lose at home to Wisconsin on Sunday.
  • Purdue just needs to beat Indiana or have Ohio State lose.
  • Ohio State needs to win and hope either Purdue or Iowa lose at home. The Buckeyes would clinch the No. 5 seed with a loss.

We also still don’t know the order of seeds 6-13. The most important are 6-10 since those teams get a single bye and those are already known:

  • Wisconsin (at Iowa)
  • Maryland (vs. Penn State)
  • Rutgers (at Minnesota)
  • Michigan State (at Michigan)
  • Indiana (at Purdue)

If you’re looking for the most likely first-round matchups, Indiana will end up as the No. 10 seed facing either Rutgers or Maryland on Thursday. And the 8/9 game would be Michigan State vs. the other of Rutgers or Maryland.

Lastly, Penn State, Minnesota and Northwestern will join Nebraska in the first round, but their exact seeds and the two matchups will come down to this weekend’s results.


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Big West Conference Outlook

The Big West Conference tournament will take place from March 9-13 in Paradise, Nevada. There are 11 teams in the league, but only 10 will compete in the bracket since UC San Diego is not eligible to compete in its first year as a D-I member.

What We Know

The top six seeds receive a first-round bye to the quarterfinals. We know who those six teams will be:

  • UC Santa Barbara (12-3)
  • UC Irvine (9-4)
  • UC Riverside (7-4)
  • Cal State Bakersfield (9-7)
  • UC Davis (5-4)
  • Hawaii (9-8)

UC Santa Barbara has clinched the top seed and Cal Poly is locked into the 10th seed.

To Be Determined

Only seeding between the teams with a bye (except for UCSB) and the teams without a bye (except for Cal Poly) will be decided on Saturday. Cal Poly and UCSB will play each other in a game that means absolutely nothing from a tournament perspective to close out the year.

The other four games all have some meaning.


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Conference USA Outlook


C-USA Tournament
March 10 – 13

The C-USA tournament will take place from March 10-13 in Frisco, Texas. All 14 teams will partake in the festivities.

What We Know

C-USA has two divisions with the top two seeds in each receiving a bye into the quarterfinals. We know all of the bottom four seeds in each division and that Louisiana Tech has the top seed.

To Be Determined

There are only three games remaining on the conference schedule, which will all be played on Saturday. Here’s what they will decide:

  • The winner of Western Kentucky-Old Dominion will get the No. 1 seed in the East. The loser will get the No. 2 seed and the double-bye.
  • A Marshall win over Charlotte would give it the No. 3 seed. A loss means the No. 4 seed. It’s a single bye either way. Charlotte is already locked into a second-round matchup with UTSA.
  • The winner of UAB-North Texas will clinch the No. 2 seed in the West (and a double-bye).

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MEAC Outlook

The MEAC uses a divisional format for seeding. There is only one game left in the regular season, as Morgan State will look to lock up the No. 1 seed and a bye into the semifinals with a win over lowly Delaware State.


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Mountain West Conference Outlook


Mountain West Tournament
March 10 – 13

All 11 teams will participate in the Mountain West conference tournament from March 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The top five seeds receive a bye into the quarterfinals, while the other six teams play in the first round.

We don’t have to spend much time here as we know almost everything. The only thing left to be determined is the positioning of UNLV and Fresno State. One will get the No. 6 seed and the other the No. 7 seed.


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Pac-12 Conference Outlook


Pac-12 Tournament
March 10 – 13

Only 11 of the 12 Pac-12 teams will compete in the conference tournament (March 10-13 in Paradise, Nevada) since Arizona is not eligible.

What We Know

Here are the seeds that are locked in currently:

  • (3) Colorado
  • (5) Oregon State
  • (6) Stanford
  • (9) Washington State
  • (10) Washington
  • (11) California

In addition to Oregon State and Colorado, we also know the three other teams that will receive a bye into the quarterfinals:

  • Oregon (13-4)
  • USC (14-5)
  • UCLA (13-5)

To Be Determined

We don’t know the regular-season champion and top seed yet. This is what you need to know:

  • Oregon clinches the top seed with a win over Oregon State.
  • If Oregon loses, the winner of USC-UCLA will get the No. 1 seed and the loser would drop into 4/5 game against Oregon State.

Also, the winner of Arizona State-Utah will get the No. 7 seed. The loser gets the No. 8 seed.


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SEC Outlook


SEC Tournament
March 10 – 14

The SEC Tournament will take place from March 10-14 in Nashville, Tennessee. Only 12 of the 13 teams will compete for the title as Auburn is not eligible.

What We Know

Since Auburn isn’t eligible, the top 11 teams all receive a bye with the top four receiving a double-bye. We know three of the teams locked into a double-bye:

  • Alabama (1 seed)
  • Arkansas (2 seed)
  • LSU (3 or 4 seed)

To Be Determined

The last remaining double-bye will go to the winner of Florida-Tennessee in Knoxville. The loser will drop into the single-bye category.

Assuming Vanderbilt (at Ole Miss) and Texas A&M (at Arkansas) both lose, they will face each other in the lone first-round game. However, if Vanderbilt wins and both Texas A&M and South Carolina (at Kentucky) lose, the Commodores would jump up to the No. 11 seed.

Every other team not mentioned will receive a single bye and fall somewhere between the No. 5 and No. 10 seeds.


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Southland Conference Outlook

The Southland Conference Tournament is scheduled from March 9-13 in Katy, Texas. Only the top 10 of the 13 teams in the league qualify for the bracket. Stephen F. Austin is also ineligible for the postseason.

What We Know

The top two seeds receive triple-byes into the semis.

One of those lucky teams will be Nicholls State. The other will either be Abilene Christian or Sam Houston State.

It will come down to Sam Houston State vs. Stephen F. Austin, which will try to play spoiler in its season finale. SHSU can clinch a triple bye and a share of the regular-season title with a win.

The three and four seeds receive double byes.

Northwestern State and New Orleans will be the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds in some order, which will get them a single bye.

To Be Determined

Things are messy after the top three seeds, as the Southland went to a points system (teams get a point for canceled games and three for a win) to determine the standings instead of using winning percentage.

Northwestern State, New Orleans, Southeast Louisiana and Incarnate Word have all clinched spots in the postseason. Here are some scenarios:

  • Southeast Louisiana can clinch the sixth seed (and single bye) with a win over New Orleans.
  • Meanwhile, New Orleans, which has locked up at least the No. 5 seed, can clinch the No. 4 seed and double-bye with a win and loss by Northwestern State (vs. Central Arkansas).
  • Northwestern State can clinch the No. 4 seed and a double-bye with a home win over Central Arkansas.

Lastly, with Texas A&M Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) eliminated, that leaves four teams fighting for three spots:

  • Lamar: Win over McNeese State or a loss by either Houston Baptist (vs. TAMUCC) or Central Arkansas (at NWST)
  • McNeese State: Win over Lamar or a loss by either Houston Baptist (vs. TAMUCC) or Central Arkansas (at NWST)
  • Houston Baptist: Win over TAMUCC or Central Arkansas loss at NWST
  • Central Arkansas: Win at NWST or Houston Baptist loss

Got all that? Good. (Neither do I.)


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SWAC Tournament Outlook

The SWAC tournament will take place from March 10-13 in Birmingham, Alabama.

The top eight seeds qualify in a standard eight-team bracket. This one is actually straightforward, as Arkansas Pine-Bluff and Mississippi Valley State have been eliminated, so we already know the eight teams.

The seeding is also pretty much set in stone with a few potential small movements. Both Jackson State and Prairie View will look to cap off undefeated conference seasons with a win on Saturday.


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WAC Tournament Outlook

The WAC Tournament will be played from March 10-13 in Paradise, Nevada.

Only six teams will compete in the conference tournament since Chicago State canceled its season and both Tarleton State and Dixie State are ineligible.

Grand Canyon and Utah Valley will battle it out for the regular-season title this weekend, but both are already guaranteed the top two spots, which comes with a bye.

Everything else that happens this weekend will just determine seeding for No. 3-6 between New Mexico State, UT Rio Grande Valley, Cal Baptist and Seattle.


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