The automatic bids continue to fly in, as four went dancing last night. In the Horizon League, the Milwaukee Panthers clinched their first tournament appearance since 2006 by beating Wright State 69-63. Tournament favorite North Dakota State won the Summit League title by beating IPFW 60-57 and will make their second tournament appearance.
Over in the West Coast Conference, Gonzaga beat BYU 75-64. The win assures the Bulldogs a 16th straight NCAA tournament appearance, but BYU’s effort in the tournament may be enough to get them in as an at-large as well. Last night’s biggest surprise came from the Northeast Conference, where Mount St. Mary’s knocked off Robert Morris by 17 to earn their first tournament trip since 2008. The Mountaineers came into the NEC tournament with a 13-16 record and were swept by Robert Morris during the regular season.
Tonight will only punch one ticket to the tournament, but a number of conferences will begin early tournament play tonight (ACC, SEC, Pac-12, and Atlantic 10 among others).
Patriot League: (1) Boston vs. (2) American, 7:30pm (CBS Sports)
The Boston Terriers were the favorite coming into the tournament and they’ve played like it thus far, winning their games by an average of 29 points. American will pose a much tougher test though, having blown out Boston by 30 in a meeting earlier this season. The tournament final will be a home game for Boston though, so the Eagles will have their work cut out for them.