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Andy Katz | Correspondent | March 4, 2018

our automatic bids, American Athletic conference season champion to be decided

Here’s what’s at stake on the last day of the regular season and around college basketball Sunday:

March Madness 2018 printable bracket | Dates and schedule 

Cincinnati at Wichita State, 12 p.m., CBS: The Bearcats can still lay claim to a top 16 seed with a win over Wichita State and an American title. Lose to the Shockers and Wichita State will be co-champions with the Bearcats, but the Shockers would get a No. 1 seed in the AAC tournament. A sweep of the Bearcats would be quite a statement by Wichita State. These two could meet again in the AAC final next week in Orlando. Wichita State doesn’t have the overall resume that Cincinnati does but it would be hard to put the Shockers behind Cincinnati if they get the sweep.

Illinois State vs. Loyola-Chicago, St. Louis, 2 p.m., CBS: The Missouri Valley Conference title comes down to programs/coaches who are on the rise. The Ramblers would likely be the better choice to win a first-round game. But there’s no reason to discount the Redbirds as a viable first-round upset team. The shame of a Loyola loss would mean that the outright Valley champs wouldn’t play in the NCAAs after a sensational conference season.

Michigan vs. Purdue, 4:30 p.m., CBS: The Big Ten tournament title game at Madison Square Garden should be one of the best games in the Big Ten this season. Purdue beat Michigan twice earlier in the season, but both games were won in late possessions. Michigan matches up quite well with Purdue. The Wolverines are playing the best basketball of any team in the conference and if you’re looking for one team to latch onto as a possible Final Four team then the Wolverines would be a good pick. Michigan should be in the top 16 on the seed line with a win. Purdue still could claim a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with a conference tournament title.

Liberty at Radford, 1 p.m., ESPN: The Big South title game pits the upstart Flames against the second-seeded Highlanders. I saw Liberty over a three-day period at the Paradise Jam in Lynchburg, Va., in November. I saw the potential then, and was a bit surprised when the Flames weren’t a regular-season contender. But the Flames have played well this past week, coming back from 15 down to topple UNC Asheville in the semifinals. Radford handled Winthrop in the semifinal. The Flames are a good watch and if they do get into the NCAA tournament, then don’t be surprised to see them put up a good fight. Their point guard, Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz, has the ability to get to the rack and convert against high-level guards. This would signal quite the turnaround for Ritchie McKay in his second stint if he can claim the Big South automatic bid.

MORE: How your bracket will do if you only pick higher seeds

Lipscomb at Florida Gulf Coast, 3 p.m., ESPN: The Atlantic Sun title goes through Gulf Coast yet again. Lipscomb beat Gulf Coast two weeks ago. Florida Gulf Coast has an elite scorer in Brandon Goodwin, who started his career at UCF. The Eagles aren’t as strong as they were a few seasons ago, but could still be a tough out if they earn the automatic bid. Lipscomb had its moments earlier in the season when it swept Belmont, and has lost only one game since January 18.

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