The list of automatic qualifiers for the 2021 NCAA Tournament will nearly double Monday as five conferences crown tournament champions. That means 11 of the 68 spots in the Big Dance will be solidified by the end of the night as Selection Sunday creeps closer.
Of the five leagues with a championship at stake Monday, only two of them have their No. 1 seed competing in the game, and only the West Coast Conference has its No. 1 seed playing against its No. 2 seed as top-seeded Gonzaga faces BYU for the tournament title. A win would send the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament with an undefeated record and solidify their place as the projected No. 1 overall seed.
The tally of automatic qualifiers grew from three to five on Monday night when Appalachian State secured its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000 by capping an improbable run through the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with an 80-73 win over No. 1 seed Georgia State. As the No. 4 seed from the league’s East Division, the Mountaineers were forced to play four games in four days and went to overtime twice during the journey.
The Mountaineers showed during their four-day run that they could be a threat in the NCAA Tournament. With four guards — including a pair of seniors in Justin Forrest and Michael Almonacy — averaging double figures — watch out because this is the type of team that busts brackets.
UNC Greensboro also secured its spot in the field of 68 on Monday by surviving an upset bid from No. 7 seed Mercer in the Southern Conference Tournament final to win 69-61. The Spartans were the No. 1 seed in the SoCon and will be making their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament under ninth-year coach Wes Miller. Star guard Isaiah Miller led all scorers with 25 points in the title game after scoring 21 in quarterfinal and semifinal victories over The Citadel and ETSU.
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We’re keeping up with the various tournament schedules and automatic qualifiers here as the madness of March begins to heat up.
Tuesday’s conference tournament schedule, scores
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2021 conference tournament schedules Conference Tournament site Dates Championship Game, Time, TV AAC Fort Worth, Texas March 11-14 March 14, 3:15 p.m., ESPN ACC Greensboro, N.C. March 9-13 March 13, 8:30 p.m., ESPN America East Campus sites Feb. 27-28, March 6,13 March 13, 11 a.m., ESPN2 Atlantic 10 Richmond,/DaytonMarch 3-6, 14 March 14, 1 p.m., CBS ASUN Jacksonville, Fla.March 3-7Liberty (23-5) Big East New York March 10-13March 13, TBA, FOX/FS1 Big Sky Boise, Idaho March 10-13 March 13, 8 p.m., ESPNU Big South Campus sites Feb. 27, March 1,4,7Winthrop (23-1) Big Ten Indianapolis March 10-14 March 14, 3:30 p.m., CBS Big 12 Kansas City March 10-13 March 13, 6 p.m., ESPN Big West Anaheim March 9, 11-13 March 13, 11:30 p.m., ESPN2 Colonial Washington D.C. March 6-9March 9, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network Conference USA Frisco, Texas March 9-13March 13, TBA, CBS Sports Network Horizon League Indianapolis Feb. 25, March 2, 8-9March 9, 7 p.m., ESPN Ivy League No Tournament in 2021 MAAC Atlantic City, N.J. March 9-13March 13, 4 p.m., ESPNU MAC Cleveland, Ohio March 11-13 March 13, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2 MEAC Norfolk, Va. March 11-13 March 13, 1 p.m., ESPN2 Missouri Valley St. Louis March 4-7Loyola Chicago (24-4) Mountain West Las Vegas March 10-13March 13, 6 p.m., CBS Northeast Campus sites March 6 & 9March 9, 7 p.m., ESPN2 Ohio Valley Evansville, Ind. March 3-6Morehead State (23-7) Pac-12 Las Vegas March 10-13 March 13, 10:30 p.m., ESPN Patriot Campus sites March 3, 6, 10 & 14March 14, Noon, CBS Sports Network SEC Nashville, Tenn. March 10-14 March 14, 1 p.m., ESPN Southern Asheville, N.C March 5-8UNCG (21-8) Southland Katy, Texas March 9-13 March 13, 9:30 p.m., ESPN2 Summit Sioux Falls, S.D. March 6-9March 9, 9 p.m., ESPN2 Sun Belt Pensacola, Fla. March 5-8 Appalachian State (17-11) SWAC Birmingham, Ala. March 10-13 March 13, 6 p.m., ESPNU WAC Las Vegas March 10-13 March 13, 10 p.m., ESPNU West Coast Las Vegas March 4-6 & 8-9March 9, 9 p.m., ESPN