The college basketball regular season has officially ended and that brings us to conference tournament week. Some of these tournaments are going to be straight forward as many conferences have their one March Madness bid on the line. Some are a little more complicated as several Power Six schools are on the bubble and could find their way in with a couple of conference tournament wins or winning it outright, of course.
Here are some of the college basketball championship tournaments you should be watching this week as teams will be jockeying for seed lines in the NCAA Tournament and potentially fighting to get in at all. We’ll start with the conference that many people consider to be the toughest this season and has the last two college basketball national champions.
College Basketball Championship Week Tournaments
Big 12 Tournament
The Big 12 has been a brutal conference this season and is currently projected to have seven (of its 10) teams make the NCAA Tournament field. However, if 8th-seeded West Virginia can win a couple games and potentially knock off Kansas in one of those, they could find themselves on the right side of the bubble.
Texas Tech has been hot recently and could easily win its way to the conference title game. Outside of TTU and WVU, the rest of the conference will be fighting for their seed lines the next week. Kansas is a likely top seed right now and has the chance to secure the top overall seed with a conference title in their hands. But an early loss to a TTU or WVU could potentially knock them down to the 2-seed line.
Look for Iowa State and Oklahoma to move up seed lines if they can secure a win or two in this tournament as well. Oklahoma State is listed as one of the first four teams out so getting a win or two would go a long way for them too.
Big East Tournament
The Big East might be the most intriguing conference right now with several teams ranked and five teams solidly above the .500 mark in conference play. And there’s a chance that they could send six teams to the bigger tournament. Villanova has gotten hot at the right time and could threaten to steal the automatic bid without really kicking anyone else out of the NCAA Tournament.
Should Villanova pull off an incredible run and actually win the Big East Tournament, teams still likely to get to the next week of games are UConn, Creighton, Marquette, Xavier, and Providence. Any one of those teams could make a nice run later this month and if Villanova can sneak its way into the tournament, we’ll get a chance to look at Cam Whitmore as well since he should go in the top 10 in the NBA Draft.
Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
This is clearly a one-bid league, but the battle of the top is an intriguing one. It will likely come down to the College of Charleston and Hofstra as they have an identical conference record. CofC is 28-3 on the season while Hofstra is 23-8. With the CAA being only a one-bid league, whichever team doesn’t win the title game is getting left out most likely.
Charleston was one of the last undefeated teams in the country and should rightfully have quite a few fans heading into March Madness. Assuming the Cougars get to the CAA title game, they should have a good enough NET rating to get in, but they should also immediately become fan favorites. They have a couple of nice out of conference wins including over Richmond, Virginia Tech, and Chattanooga.
Southeastern Conference Tournament
The SEC has been one of the most topsy-turvy leagues this season with the exception of Alabama staying at the top all season. Kentucky has been inconsistent, Vanderbilt has made a run near the end of the season, Tennessee has faltered lately, and Texas A&M has been surprisingly good.The SEC is likely sending half of its conference to the Big Dance, but there could be a team or two who flips it bubble perspective with a nice run in the conference tournament.
One of the teams that need to solidify their spot is Mississippi State as they are looking like one of the last four teams in the field. If they can grab a couple wins in the SEC Tournament, they’re likely getting a bye and should be comfortably in the field. Tennessee could improve its seeding while Alabama can pretty much only lose their status as a top seed line team if they lose early in this tournament. Kentucky is looking to make a statement and give its fans something to be hopeful about going into March Madness while Vanderbilt is basically just happy to be here.
That’s all for college basketball championship week, but stay tuned for March Madness coverage on Project Spurs.