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2021 NCAA Tournament automatic bids: Conference title games, scores; Rick Pitino gets back to the Big Dance


The 2021 NCAA Tournament bracket is filling up in a hurry as top teams and surprising stories scatter across the field

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Cincinnati had an opportunity to join Georgetown from the Big East and Oregon State from the Pac-12 in the category of NCAA Tournament “bid stealers” on Sunday. But the Bearcats fell a game short of reaching the Big Dance by losing 91-54 to Houston in the AAC Tournament final. 

That means the AAC’s automatic bid will go to a Cougars team that was already a lock to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. That’s good news for teams that are on the bubble and trying to steal one of the final spots in the field of 68. But, of course, many of those spots will in fact be occupied by teams who won their conference tournament titles.

From Rick Pitino’s Iona squad to a pair of first-time NCAA Tournament teams in Grand Canyon and Fairfield, the wave of conference tournaments have produced some thrilling games and interesting storylines heading into the Big Dance.

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We’ve kept up with the various tournament schedules and automatic qualifiers. Below is the complete list of conference tournament winners and teams that earned automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament.

2021 conference tournaments

Conference Tournament site Dates Champion
AAC Fort Worth, Texas March 11-14 Houston (24-3)
ACC Greensboro, N.C. March 9-13 Georgia Tech (17-8)
America East Campus sites Feb. 27-28, March 6,13 Hartford (15-8)
Atlantic 10 Richmond,/Dayton March 3-6, 14 St. Bonaventure (16-4)
ASUN Jacksonville, Fla. March 3-7 Liberty (23-5)
Big East New York March 10-13 Georgetown (13-12)
Big Sky Boise, Idaho March 10-13 Eastern Washington (16-7)
Big South Campus sites Feb. 27, March 1,4,7 Winthrop (23-1)
Big Ten Indianapolis March 10-14 Illinois (22-6)
Big 12 Kansas City March 10-13 Texas (19-7)
Big West Anaheim March 9, 11-13 UC Santa Barbara (22-4)
Colonial Washington D.C. March 6-9 Drexel (12-7)
Conference USA Frisco, Texas March 9-13 North Texas (17-9)
Horizon League Indianapolis Feb. 25, March 2, 8-9 Cleveland State (19-7)
Ivy League

No Tournament in 2021
MAAC Atlantic City, N.J. March 9-13 Iona (12-5)
MAC Cleveland, Ohio March 11-13 Ohio (16-7)
MEAC Norfolk, Va. March 11-13 Norfolk State (13-7)
Missouri Valley St. Louis March 4-7 Loyola Chicago (24-4)
Mountain West Las Vegas March 10-13 San Diego State (23-4)
Northeast Campus sites March 6 & 9 Mount St. Mary’s (12-10)
Ohio Valley Evansville, Ind. March 3-6 Morehead State (23-7)
Pac-12 Las Vegas March 10-13 Oregon State (17-12)
Patriot Campus sites March 3, 6, 10 & 14 Colgate (14-1)
SEC Nashville, Tenn. March 10-14 Alabama (24-6)
Southern Asheville, N.C March 5-8 UNCG (21-8)
Southland Katy, Texas March 9-13 Abilene Christian (23-4)
Summit Sioux Falls, S.D. March 6-9 Oral Roberts (16-10)
Sun Belt Pensacola, Fla. March 5-8 Appalachian State (17-11)
SWAC Birmingham, Ala. March 10-13 Texas Southern (16-8)
WAC Las Vegas March 10-13 Grand Canyon (17-6)
West Coast Las Vegas March 4-6 & 8-9 Gonzaga (26-0)

SportsLine’s proven model simulates every college basketball game 10,000 times. It absolutely crushed its March Madness picks in the last tournament, beating nearly 90 percent of all CBS Sports brackets one year after finishing in the top five percent. Get winning college basketball picks right here.

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