Here's what you need to know in college hoops for Monday, March 6.
It's beginning to look a lot like March Madness. Four teams secured a spot in the NCAA tournament with conference tournament wins over the weekend, and the other 28 automatic bids will be decided this week. Selection Sunday is March 12.
The bid for an automatic bid
Florida Gulf Coast, Winthrop, Wichita State and Jacksonville State all have locked in their NCAA tournament spots. The Mid-American and Mid-Eastern Athletic conference tournaments begin today and the Colonial Athletic, Metro Atlantic Athletic and Southern conferences all decide their automatic qualifiers with championship games tonight.
Keep track of all the tickets being punched and see the full conference tournament schedule here.
That's a regular-season wrap
• Seton Hall took down No. 13 Butler, 70-64, in the Pirates' third top-25 win of the year. Seton Hall scored the game’s last seven points to upset No. 13 Butler on the road, improving to 10-8 in the Big East. Butler finished the regular season at 12-6 in the Big East.
• Vanderbilt completed the season sweep of Florida, upsetting the No. 12 Gators 73-71 on Saturday.
• North Carolina picked up the outright ACC regular season title when No. 8 Louisville beat No. 18 Notre Dame Saturday afternoon, but there was still plenty on the line for the No. 5 Tar Heels against No. 17 Duke — mainly avoiding the season sweep by the Blue Devils. UNC did that Saturday in a thrilling game, eventually pulling away to win 90-83.
The team sheet: An inside look
Conference tournaments account for 32 automatic bids to the NCAA tournament. That leaves 36 at-large bids up for grabs.
Ever wonder how those spots are decided?
Here's the "team sheet," a visual snapshot of a team's résumé. NCAA.com's Eric Vander Voort interviewed David Worlock, the Director of Media Coordination and Statistics at the NCAA, to get an in-depth explanation of the tool.
UCLA and the dawning of a golden age
Fifty years ago, the college basketball earth shook. Wherever UCLA went, awe followed, mostly because of the 7-foot-2 Bruin who could not be stopped.
His name was Lew Alcindor, before it was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and when he scored 56 points in his first college game, everyone could guess what was coming. "The thing that surprised me,” he would say a half-century later of his debut, “was how easy it was.”
Your March Madness history test
The 2017 NCAA tournament starts next week (see the schedule below), and with it comes the 2,017th NCAA tournament game since the tournament was expanded in 1985 (not including the First Four). Spooky.
The 44-question exam, right now, has an average score of 36 percent. Think you can do better? Give it a shot.
The Bracket Challenge is open
Our bracket challenge game is open. So, you can't actually pick a bracket yet. Selection Sunday isn't until ... you know. Sunday. But you can set up a group for the Challenge (or join one).
Mark your calendar
Selection Sunday: March 12
First Four in Dayton: March 14, 15
First Thursday of the NCAA tournament: March 16
Final Four in Phoenix: April 1-3