Automatic Bid Primer

As we head into the start of regular season conference play in the next few weeks, it is time to start thinking about the Field of 68 teams for the NCAA Tournament.  31 of those teams are the automatic qualifiers from the 32 conferences (the Great West does not receive an automatic bid).  Here is a quick primer on which teams will be competing for these 31 Automatic Bids:

AMERICA EAST:  While the conference has 9 teams, Boston University is ineligible for the conference tournament due to their announcement that they are leaving the league at the end of the season, though they are eligible for at-large selection.  The other 8 teams will all qualify into the conference tournament.

ACC:  All 12 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

ATLANTIC SUN:  Northern Kentucky is in its first of four years transitioning to Division I and is ineligible for both the NCAA tournament as well as the conference tournament.  Of the remaining 9 eligible teams, the top 8 qualify into the conference tournament field.

ATLANTIC TEN:  While the conference has expanded to 16 teams this season, the conference tournament field remains at 12, meaning the bottom 4 teams will be eliminated.

BIG 12:  All 10 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

BIG EAST:  Connecticut is ineligible due to their postseason ban.  The remaining 14 teams all qualify for the conference tournament.

BIG SKY:  This conference expanded out to 11 members this season, with the top 7 teams qualifying for the conference tournament.  The bottom 4 teams will be eliminated.

BIG SOUTH:  All 12 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

BIG TEN: All 12 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

BIG WEST:  UC-Riverside is ineligible due to a postseason ban.  Of the remaining 9 members, the top 8 qualify into the conference tournament.

COLONIAL:  While the conference has 11 members, Towson and UNC-Wilmington are both ineligible due to postseason bans.  In addition, Old Dominion and Georgia State have announced their intention to leave the conference after this season and are therefore barred from the conference tournament (though Old Dominion and Georgia state are both eligible for at-large selection into the NCAA tournament).  This leaves 7 teams eligible for the automatic bid, all of whom will be in the conference tournament.

CONFERENCE USA:  Central Florida is ineligible for postseason play and will not participate.  The 11 remaining members all qualify for the conference tournament.

GREAT WEST:  All 5 members of this conference qualify for its tournament, though this league does not have an automatic bid (though the 5 members are eligible for at-large bids).  2013 will be the final season for the Great West as all members other than NJIT have already accepted invitations to other conferences starting next season.

HORIZON:  All 9 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

IVY:  The Ivy League does not have a conference tournament.  Its automatic bid is awarded to the regular season champion.  In the event of a tie for first place, a single elimination playoff will take place between all teams tied for first to determine the winner of the automatic bid.

METRO ATLANTIC:  All 10 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

MID-AMERICAN:  Toledo is ineligible due to a postseason ban.  The remaining 11 teams all qualify for the conference tournament.

MEAC:  All 13 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

MISSOURI VALLEY:  All 10 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

MOUNTAIN WEST:  All 9 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

NORTHEAST:  The top 8 finishers in this 12 team league qualify for the conference tournament, while the bottom 4 teams are eliminated.

OHIO VALLEY:  Jacksonville State is ineligible due to a postseason ban.  Of the remaining 11 teams, the top 8 finishers qualify for the conference tournament.

PAC TWELVE:  All 12 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

PATRIOT:  All 8 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

SEC:  All 14 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

SOUTHERN:  All 12 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

SOUTHLAND:  Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is ineligible due to a postseason ban.  Of the remaining 9 teams, the top 8 qualify for the conference tournament, while the last place team is eliminated.

SWAC:  Mississippi Valley State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Texas Southern are all ineligible due to postseason bans.  The remaining 7 teams all qualify for the conference tournament.

SUMMIT:  Nebraska-Omaha is in its second of four years transitioning up to Division I and as such is ineligible for postseason play and the conference tournament.  The remaining 8 teams all qualify for the conference tournament.

SUN BELT:  All 11 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

WEST COAST:  All 9 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

WAC:  All 10 teams qualify for the conference tournament.

INDEPENDENTS:  While there is no conference tournament for the 2 independents (Cal State-Bakersfield and New Orleans), they are both technically eligible for at-large selection.

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  • David G

    I believe that’s 288 teams in conference tournaments, correct?? That’s fewer than in years past.

    • Chad

      For the most part the decrease is due to the number of ineligible teams this year (9 due to APR and 2 more due to probation). A couple of conferences did increase their tournament size though (such as SEC expanding to 14, Big Sky moving from 6 to 7, Big South moving from 8 to 12).