It’s almost that time of the year. The calendar has just turned over to March, and we all know what that means. Brackets will be busted and Cinderellas will be crowned during the NCAA Tournament, but before that happens the 68 teams in the field must be determined. Every conference in the country will send at least one team to the Big Dance and with most conferences only sending one team by way of the automatic bid, you better win your conference tournament or else you might get left at home. Let’s take a look at three of the more intriguing conference tournaments and give the little guys some love. You can bet on all of these conference tournaments at BetDSI.
The SoCon has never sent more than one team to the NCAA Tournament, with the conference tournament winner always getting the bid. However, this conference is the deepest mid-major conference in the country this season, and if the SoCon was ever going to get another team, the time is now.
Wofford has probably done enough to lock up a spot already. The Terriers are one win away from finishing the regular season undefeated, and with a 25-4 mark overall, that should be enough to give them a ticket to the dance. There are three teams that could knock them off in the conference tournament though, and that would likely lead to the SoCon sending two teams to the tournament.
UNC Greensboro, Furman, and East Tennessee State all have at least 12 conference wins and 22 wins overall this season, and the latter two teams have come close to knocking off Wofford already. This tournament lasts from March 7 to March 11 and takes place in Asheville, Tennessee.
Ohio Valley Conference
There’s so much drama in the OVC, Ja Morant is making history. Kudos to you if you picked up on my adaptation of Chamillionaire’s “Hip Hop Police”, but if you didn’t, just know that this conference is worth singing about.
This conference is not getting the same attention as the SoCon, but the OVC is in a similar race. Belmont is the favorite to finish atop the conference in the regular season with a 15-2 record in OVC play, but Murray State, Jacksonville State, and Austin Peay are all right behind them.
It doesn’t seem likely that Belmont or Murray State can steal an at-large bid, so we are likely either going to get the most exciting team or the most exciting player from the conference. Belmont has shown it can hang with the big boys after going on the road and beating UCLA earlier in the year, while Murray State’s Ja Morant is likely going to be a top five pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The tournament starts on March 6 and runs through March 9. It will be held in Evansville, Indiana.
Mountain West Conference
Nevada has already locked up an at-large spot, and the Wolfpack could be as high as a No.2 seed come tournament time. This is one of the most talented teams in the country, and Nevada’s senior leadership makes the team a real threat to make a deep run come tournament time.
However, the Wolfpack have also had some problems getting up for games, especially on the road. Nevada has fallen behind in the first half often this season, and against New Mexico and San Diego State they weren’t able to erase large deficits and ended up with the loss.
Utah State is the team most likely to knock off Nevada, and the Aggies will get a chance to beat the Wolfpack and give their at-large chances a boost on Saturday, but don’t count out Fresno State. The Bulldogs have a solid defense and can squeak out a win. The MWC Tournament will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada from March 13 to March 16.
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