By Mike Szvetitz and Gerry Ahern FrontPageBets
On selection Sunday, the last five guaranteed places in the NCAA tournament will be determined by early evening.
Upsets in this handful of conference tournament finals could complicate the work of the selection committee and spark squabbles over teams over- staffed, under- staffed and snubbed for the big dance.
Follow all the action with FrontPageBets and get your pens ready to fill in the perfect bracket.
Automatic qualification before the weekend
Great South: Log (26-6)
Missouri Valley: Loyola Chicago (25-7)
sunbelt: State of Georgia (18-10)
South: Chattanooga (27-7)
Atlantic Sun: Jacksonville State (21-10)
Horizon: Wright State (21-13)
Colonial: Delaware (22-12)
Summit: State of South Dakota (30-4)
west coast: Gonzaga (26-3)
Automatic qualification on Saturday
America East: Vermont (28-5)
MEAC: State of Norfolk (24-6)
MAAC: St. Peter (18-11)
mountain west: Boise State (27-7)
SWAC: Texas South (18-12)
Championship games on Sunday
#2 Yale vs. #1 Princeton
Line: Princeton -3 (-110); Yale +3 (-110)
Way to the final: The top seeded Tigers (23-5) advanced as expected with a 77-73 win over Cornell on Saturday. Princeton scored the last four points of the game. Jaelin Llewellyn scored 23 points and Tosan Evbuomwan added 21 to the win. That led to a matchup with the Bulldogs (18-11), who battled Pennsylvania 67-61 in the semifinals. Senior guard Azar Swain was great with 25 points in the win. The teams each won on the road in head-to-head races earlier this year.
The selection: Princeton, 82-76
No. 6 Richmond vs. No. 1 Davidson
Line: Davidson -3 (-110); Richmond +3 (-110)
Way to the final: Davidson (27-5) beat No. 5 St. Louis, 84-69, in the semifinals behind 21 points by guard Foster Loyer. Barring a last-second 3, Richmond (22-12) kept second-placed Dayton scoreless in the final 5:14 to advance to the finals with a 68-64 win. Grant Golden, rebounding from 15 points down in the second half, led the Spiders by 18 points. Richmond have won three games in three days, including in Friday’s quarterfinals against rivals VCU, to whom they lost twice in the regular season. Davidson won the teams’ only meeting of the regular season, 87-84.
The selection: Richmond, 72-71
No. 8 Texas A&M vs. No. 2 Tennessee
Line: Tennessee -7 (-110); Texas A&M +7 (-110)
Way to the final: Texas A&M’s run through the SEC tournament is nothing short of remarkable. The Aggies (23-11) beat Florida in overtime on Thursday, beat top seed Auburn on Friday, and then defeated No. 4 Arkansas in Saturday’s semifinals for their seventh straight win. Tennessee (25-7) held off a furious Kentucky in the second half to win their semifinals 69-62. The Vols defeated Texas A&M 90-80 in their only meeting of the regular season. The Aggies are in the NCAA tournament bubble, depending on which bracketologist you’re reading.
The selection: Tennessee, 73-70
No. 3 Memphis vs. No. 1 Houston
Line: Houston -5.5 (-110); Memphis +5.5 (-110)
Way to the final: The Cougars (28-5) dominated Tulane 86-66 behind senior guard Kyler Edwards (20 points, seven rebounds, eight assists). Houston earned a date with the Tigers (21-9) who took care of SMU, 70-63. Senior guard Alex Lomax and Landers Nolley II each had 12 points. Memphis racked up two double-digit wins over Houston in the regular season.
No. 5 Iowa vs. No. 3 Purdue
Line: Purdue -1 (-110); Iowa +1 (-110)
Way to the final: The Hawkeyes (25-9) broke Indiana’s hearts, 80-77, after a banked-in 3-pointer from Jordan Bohannon by 1.1 seconds. That ended a mighty duel between IU’s Trayce Jackson-Davis (31 points, 10 rebounds) and Iowa’s Keegan Murray (32 points, nine boards). The Boilermakers (27-6) await after dropping Michigan State, 75-70. Sophomore guard Jaden Ivey (22 points, nine boards) was key for Purdue. Center Zach Edey had 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Boilers won both previous matchups by a combined 17 points.
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