Latest NCAA Tournament Automatic Bids

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On the men’s side of college basketball, four automatic bids to the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament were handed out this past weekend. On the women’s side, they are ahead of the men, with eight tickets to the tournament already punched.

Men’s Bracket

The first of the four teams to win their conference’s automatic bid was Morehead State of the Ohio Valley Conference. They beat Little Rock, 69-55, and are headed to the Big Dance for the second time in four years and ninth time in school history. Their last win in the NCAA Tournament came in 2011, when they upset Louisville in the first round.

Stetson won the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament final over Austin Peay, 94-91, and Jalen Blackmon had a day. He finished the game with 43 points, leading the Hatters to the first NCAA Tournament in school history. They are projected to be in the First Four, and have a play-in game to become a 16th seed.

It was not an easy road back to the NCAA Tournament for Longwood in the Big South. They had to beat the No. 4 seed, the No. 1 seed, and then No. 2 seed UNC Asheville, the defending conference champs. But the Lancers got it done, 85-59, and they are in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.

In 2022, Longwood was a No. 14 seed, losing to No. 3 seed Tennessee, 88-56. The SEC regular season champion Vols are once again a national contender, with college basketball online sportsbooks paying +230 for them to make the Final Four.

The final men’s team to get into the Tournament on Sunday was Drake of the Missouri Valley. They jumped out to an 18-point second half lead, saw that lead completely evaporate, but then came from behind in the closing minutes to get the win over Indiana State.

Drake gets the MVC’s automatic bid. But on Selection Sunday, we should also hear Indiana State get called. They are 28-6 and lead the nation in effective field goal percentage. The Sycamore finished the year as the eighth-best scoring team in men’s college basketball. Drake is in with wins in 10 of its last 11 games.

Women’s Bracket

Unlike the men who, begin conference tournament week with smaller conferences and then finish with the big teams, the women’s top conferences play first. Iowa and Caitlin Clark have won their third straight Big Ten Conference title, and Iowa online sportsbooks have the Hawkeyes at +700 to win the national championship.

In the SEC Tournament final between LSU and South Carolina, the Gamecocks got the win. But that became a secondary story after a fight broke out with just over two minutes to play, leading to six ejections. South Carolina is the betting favorite to win the national championship, and Louisiana online sportsbooks have the Tigers at +700, third behind Iowa. But suspensions could be handed out, and they would be served in the first round.

Freshman star JuJu Watkins led USC to the Pac-12 championship, as the Trojans beat the top-seeded Stanford Cardinals, 74-61. Notre Dame rolled through the ACC Tournament, winning three games by an average of 14 points to claim the conference title. Despite that, Indiana sportsbooks have the Irish at just +5000 to win the NCAA Tournament.

The other four women’s teams that have secured automatic bids are Southern Indiana from the Ohio Valley, Richmond from the Atlantic 10, Presbyterian from the Big South, and Chattanooga from the Southern Conference.

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