Teams that are already in the NCAA Tournament…
Cornell Big Red (27-4, Ivy League), Winthrop Eagles (19-13, Big South), Murray State Racers (30-4, Ohio Valley), East Tennessee State Buccaneers (20-14, Atlantic Sun), Northern Iowa Panthers (28-4, Missouri Valley), St. Mary's Gaels (26-5, West Coast), Siena Saints (27-6, Metro Atlantic), Old Dominion Monarchs (26-8, Colonial), Wofford Terriers (26-8, Southern)
Teams that clinched automatic bids on Tuesday…
Oakland Golden Grizzlies (26-8, Summit): Oakland is going back to the NCAA Tournament, and it enters March Madness as one of the hottest teams in college basketball, losing just one game since the end of December. Still, the Golden Grizzlies took their shots at some of the big boys in college basketball this season and ultimately was trounced by Syracuse, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Memphis. That's going to make it hard for this team to advance out of a #14 seed or so.
Butler Bulldogs (28-4, Horizon): Bubble teams can breathe a bit easier. The Bulldogs came through in a big way in the Horizon League final, hammering Wright State to finish up at 20-0 in conference play. Depending on how the Selection Committee views mid-majors this year, Butler could reasonably finish anywhere from a #3 to a #8 in the brackets. Either way, there are going to be some unhappy teams that have to face this very lethal bunch of Bulldogs.
North Texas Mean Green (24-8, Sun Belt): It took a big second half effort, but the Mean Green prevailed over the Trojans to win the Sun Belt and take a spot in the NCAA Tournament. This wasn't a conference that was particularly strong for the majority of the season, and North Texas will probably be punished for it. Consider this team good enough for a #15 seed, but not much more than that.
Teams vying for automatic bids on Wednesday…
Robert Morris Colonials (22-11, Northeast): This is old hat to a Robert Morris team which has played in the NEC Championship seven times in school history. The Colonials were awfully inconsistent down the stretch of the regular season, losing two of its L/3 before dominating two conference tournament foes. Free throw shooting is a major issue for this team. Only converting on 66.7% of its charity shots would be a recipe for disaster with a berth to the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Quinnipiac Bobcats (23-8, Northeast): It's the exact opposite situation for the Bobcats, who are only playing in their second NEC finale and have never even played in a postseason tournament of any kind, let alone an NCAA Tournament. That will change this year, as the NIT will be calling Quinnipiac's name if it doesn't win this game. F Justin Rutty has logged seven straight double-doubles, and he'll be expected to come up big yet again for the Bobcats to go dancing.
Montana Grizzlies (21-9, Big Sky): G Anthony Johnson scored 19 points to lead the Grizzlies to the Big Sky final last night, and he'll be the cog in the lineup if Montana is to win this game against the conference powerhouses. Look out for a barrage of three-pointers from the Grizz, as they are shooting a stellar 40.2% from downtown this year, good enough for sixth in the country.
Weber State Wildcats (20-9, Big Sky): The regular season Big Sky champs have their sights set on yet another NCAA Tournament appearance. A high-flying offense which scored 77.0 points per game this year is going to be on display. Weber State hasn't been to the dance since 2007, but this marks the team's fourth regular season championship since 2002-03.