Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, May 19, 2024

Moments ‘til Madness: Who’s getting the automatic bid?

My predictions for every Power 6 conference tournament.

"Moments 'Til Madness " Column Graphic
Graphic by Gretta Goorno

It’s officially conference tournament time. On Monday, the Athletic Sun Conference already had their first-round matchups. For the next two weeks, we’ll have a plethora of great games to watch to get us ready for the Big Dance. The ASC can be almost as unpredictable as March Madness, but here are my best attempts at who will be getting an automatic bid from the Power 6 conferences.

Atlantic Coast Conference: University of North Carolina

When it comes to the very top-heavy ACC, UNC seems like the easy pick. Led by guard RJ Davis, this team has more than enough experience and has shown it all season. The Tar Heels have lost just three ACC games and have several strong out-of-conference wins. Not only that, but this team has a lot to play for. Winning the ACC Tournament could get them the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Big 12 Conference: Iowa State University

With just one loss in their last eight games, the Cyclones have had a strong second half of the season. That one loss came from Houston University, which is currently No. 1 in the AP Poll. While most will likely pick Houston to win this tournament, I have some serious doubts about their ability to win in a postseason environment. Meanwhile, Iowa State is 17–0 at home this season with their only Big 12 losses coming against quality opponents on the road. But this pick is really a toss-up with how competitive the conference is top-to-bottom.

Big East Conference: University of Connecticut

It’s hard to not pick UConn here. They’ve only lost two Big East games this season, both of them being away games against likely tournament teams. Although they did recently fall to the Creighton University Bluejays by 19 points, you can chalk most of that up to the Bluejays shooting 50% from three, while the Huskies shot just below 19% from the arch. With a three-game lead for first place in the conference, UConn hasn’t skipped a beat since last season and I don’t see them having much trouble in the Big East Tournament.

Big Ten Conference: Purdue University

Purdue is another favorite for the title, but they might have an even better argument than UConn. The Boilermakers could very well go back-to-back, as the Big Ten is weaker than it was last year. Furthermore, Purdue has the best resume in the sport right now according to BPI and they have continued to dominate the Big Ten. Not to mention, they have the reigning National Player of the Year in Zach Edey, who is expected to receive the award yet again this season.

Pac-12 Conference: Washington State University

As one of the more unexpected tournament teams this year, Washington State has looked great in Pac-12 play. The Cougars are just half a game back from No. 5 University of Arizona’s Wildcats, whom the Cougars beat both times they faced off. The Pac-12 is very weak per usual, so if Washington State can replicate what they did in the regular season, they could very well earn the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament.

Southeastern Conference: University of Kentucky

The SEC Tournament is going to be one of the best to watch and I bet a lot of that will be because of Kentucky. Even though their defense is questionable, they might have the most explosive offense in the country, putting up over 90 points in each of their last three games. There might just be too much talent on this team. Coach John Calipari has done a good job with such a young roster and I expect them to surprise a lot of people in their conference tournament and in March.