Conference tournaments tipped off last week in most of the smaller conferences, with five bids being handed out over the weekend -- including the Ivy League, which gives out its bid to the regular-season champion. This week, the rest of the conferences get under way, including all of the “power six” conferences, the Atlantic 10, the Mountain West and a few others. Your head will be spinning, so keep it locked here for all the latest scores and updates from the brackets.
We looked at all 30 conference tourneys last week, but here's a refresher on the ones that tip off this week.
THE BIG ONES
Big East (March 12-16 -- New York)
What's at stake: The last “true” Big East tournament is going to be tremendous. Louisville and Georgetown are looking for a No. 1 seed, while Villanova and Cincinnati are trying to cement their spots in the NCAA tournament. And can Syracuse snap out of its funk?
The pick: Louisville
Big 12 (March 13-16 -- Kansas City)
What's at stake: Kansas and Kansas State split the regular-season title -- will we get a third meeting between the two in Kansas City? The Jayhawks need the title for a No. 1 seed, while Iowa State and Baylor need to keep winning games to get bids to the NCAA tournament.
The pick: Kansas
Mountain West (March 13-16 -- Las Vegas)
What's at stake: This one is going to be wide-open, considering the top of the league is loaded and it takes place in Vegas. New Mexico was on the bubble for a No. 1 seed before the weekend, while San Diego State and Boise State would like cement their spots in the dance.
The pick: UNLV
Pac-12 (March 13-16 – Las Vegas)
What's at stake: There's really no clear-cut favorite, as the top four spots in the standings were separated by only one game. Five teams look set for the tournament, although the winner will likely see a significant boost in seeding next Sunday.
The pick: UCLA
SEC (March 13-17 – Nashville, Tenn.)
What's at stake: This one might have the most impact on the bubble picture. Florida and Missouri are good to go, but Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Ole Miss are all looking to play themselves into the tournament. With three of those teams (not Tennessee) getting a double-bye, those quarterfinal games will be huge.
The pick: Florida
ACC (March 14-17 -- Greensboro, N.C.)
What's at stake: Duke is starting to round into form after getting Ryan Kelly back from injury, and the Blue Devils can lock in a No. 1 seed if they win the ACC tournament. Miami (Fla.) wants to stay in the top-three seed lines, and NC State and North Carolina are looking for boosts. Is Virginia primed for a run?
The pick: Duke
Atlantic 10 (March 14-17 -- Brooklyn, N.Y.)
What's at stake: The first year at the Barclays Center should see a wide-open tournament with several teams looking for a title. Saint Louis won the outright title, and it will be interesting to see if VCU's press will be effective at a neutral site. And what about Temple or Butler? There could be some surprises.
The pick: La Salle
Big Ten (March 14-17 -- Chicago)
What's at stake: After Sunday's unbelievable game between Michigan and Indiana, who's ready for another week of those contests? The Hoosiers got the top seed, but the Wolverines, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State are all in the hunt. The winner will likely get a No. 1 seed, and the runner-up could be in the discussion.
The pick: Michigan State
ONES TO WATCH
MEAC (March 11-16 -- Norfolk, Va.)
What's at stake: Norfolk State is looking for a chance to repeat its Round of 64 upset from last season, after the Spartans went undefeated in league play. However, North Carolina Central only lost one game and might have more talent.
The pick: North Carolina Central
MAC (March 11, 13-16 -- Cleveland)
What's at stake: Akron swept Ohio during the regular season, but the Zips lost their final two regular-season games and need the automatic bid. They won't have starting point guard Alex Abreu, either, who was suspended after a drug arrest.
The pick: Ohio
SWAC (March 12-16 -- Garland, Texas)
What's at stake: This would have been much more competitive had Texas Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff not been ineligible for the tournament. As it stands, Southern is the only above .500 team in the conference tournament.
The pick: Southern
WAC (March 12, 14-16 -- Las Vegas)
What's at stake: With Louisiana Tech losing its final two games, Denver was able to share the regular-season title -- and Tech is also no longer an at-large threat. New Mexico State isn't too far back, either.
The pick: Denver
What's at stake: Memphis rolled over the league, going undefeated in conference play. Naturally, the Tigers are the heavy favorite to win the automatic bid. Southern Miss needs the auto bid to get to the NCAA tournament.
The pick: Memphis
Southland (March 13-16 -- Katy, Texas)
What's at stake: Stephen F. Austin won the regular season, but Northwestern State was only one game back, and Oral Roberts was in the mix for awhile. Will we see another battle between slow-it-down SFA and speed-it-up Northwestern State?
The pick: Stephen F. Austin
Big Sky (March 14-16 – Site of regular season champ)
What's at stake: Will Cherry is expected to be back for Montana, but leading scorer Mathias Ward is done for the season. Does that open the door second-place Weber State? The two split the regular season meetings.
The pick: Weber State
Big West (March 14-16 – Anaheim)
What's at stake: Long Beach State was blown out by Pacific in the season finale, and the regular-season champs weren't playing their best basketball late in the year. Pacific and Cal Poly will be contenders.
The pick: Long Beach State
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