by Bruce Marshall, Goldsheet.com Editor

Conference tourney action is coming soon, with the first of those events commencing next week. After a look at the “major” conferences in our last issue, we preview the “low-major” leagues in this week’s update. More on those loops below.

In addition, we continue to provide our Big Dance “seed updates” from now until Selection Sunday, with daily updates on our website (www.goldsheet.com) during conference tourney week. Following are the seeds as we see them as of February 26...

1-Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, San Diego State

2-Dayton, Duke, Florida State, Maryland

3-Creighton, Seton Hall, Villanova, Kentucky

4-Oregon, Penn State, Louisville, Auburn

5-Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Colorado

6-Iowa, BYU, West Virginia, Arizona

7-Butler, Wisconsin, Houston, Illinois

8-Texas Tech, Florida, Virginia, Marquette

9-Rutgers, Saint Mary's, LSU, Northern Iowa

10-Xavier, Indiana, Liberty, East Tennessee State

11-Rhode Island, Utah State, Cincinnati, Arizona State

12-Vermont, Wichita State, Providence*, Oklahoma*, Stanford*, Arkansas*

13-Yale, Wright State, New Mexico State, Stephen F Austin

14-Colgate, Bowling Green, Hofstra, South Dakota State

15-Austin Peay, Little Rock, North Texas, Montana

16-Radford, UC Irvine, North Carolina A&T*, St. Francis-Pa.*, Prairie View, Siena

*-Play-in games at Dayton

Last four byes...Utah State, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Wichita State

Last four in...Providence, Oklahoma, Stanford, Arkansas

First Four Out...UCLA, USC, Mississippi State, NC State

Next Four Out...Richmond, South Carolina, Memphis, Notre Dame


It’s time now for our annual look-aheads to the fast-approaching conference tournaments. After looking at the major and mid-major leagues in our last issue, we focus this week upon the low-major conferences. Next week, many of these events will be getting underway!

This season, all of these leagues have been available to wager, not only offshore, but at most domestic-based sports books. We’ve always followed these loops in the past, but have had an extra chance to look a bit closer this season. Stay tuned for selections involving many of these leagues in upcoming TGS Late Telephone Service releases!

Many of these tournaments begin next week, and we will do a quick review below of all of these “extra” leagues and their tourneys. Dates, sites, top contenders, and postseason reps from a year ago are included for each of these loops. *-Clear favorite in upcoming tourney.

AMERICA EAST...Tourney March 7, 10, and 14 at home of highest seed for each matchup. Top eight teams qualify. Last year’s winner...Vermont. Top contenders–Vermont*, Stony Brook, Hartford. Last year...NCAA-1 (Vermont); CBI-1 (Stony Brook).

ATLANTIC SUN...Tourney March 3, 5, 8 at home of highest seed for each matchup. North Alabama is in transition phase to D-I and not eligible for conference title. Last year’s winner...Liberty. Top contenders-Liberty, North Florida, Stetson. Last Year...NCAA–1 (Liberty-2nd round); NIT-1 (Lipscomb-runner up); CIT-NJIT (2nd round).

Tourney March 9-14 at CenturyLink Arena, Boise, ID. (home of ECHL Steelheads). Last year’s winner...Montana. Top contenders-Montana, Eastern Washington, Northern Colorado, Northern Arizona. Last year...NCAA-1 (Montana); CIT-1 (Southern Utah-2nd round).

BIG SOUTH...Tourney March 3, 5, 8, 8 First round at campus sites; quarterfinals and semifinals at home of No. 1 seed. Highest remaining seed will host championship game. Last year’s winner...Gardner-Webb. Top contenders-Radford, Winthrop, Gardner-Webb, Hampton. Last year...NCAA-1 (Gardner-Webb); NIT-1 (Campbell); CIT-3 (Hampton-semifinals, Presbyterian-quarterfinals, Charleston Southern-2nd round).

METRO ATLANTIC...Tourney March 10-14 at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ. The top five seeds gets byes into the quarterfinals; seeds 6 thru 11 compete in a play-in round. Last year’s winner...Iona. Top contenders-Siena, St. Peter’s, Monmouth, Rider, Iona, Manhattan. Last year...NCAA-1 (Iona); CIT-1 (Quinnipiac).

MEAC...Tourney March 9-14 at The Scope, Norfolk, VA (former part-time home of the ABA Virginia Squires; not the home court of Norfolk State, which plays its games at Echols Hall). Last year’s winner...North Carolina Central. Top contenders-North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central, Norfolk, State, Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman, Morgan State. Last year...NCAA-1 (NC Central-lost First Four vs. North Dakota State); NIT -1 (Norfolk State-2nnd round); CBI-1 (Howard).

NORTHEAST...Tourney March 4, 7, 12 at home of highest seed for each matchup. Merrimack is in transition phase to D-I and not eligible for conference title. Last year’s winner...Fairleigh Dickinson. Top contenders-St. Francis-PA, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart. Last year...NCAA-1 (Fairleigh Dickinson won First Four game vs. Prairie View, lost in first round vs. Gonzaga); NIT-1 (St. Francis-Pa); CIT-2 (St. Francis-NY-2nd round, Robert Morris).

OHIO VALLEY...Tourney March 4-7 at Ford Center, Evansville, IN. Last year’s winner...Murray State. Top contenders-Austin Peay, Murray State, Belmont, Eastern Kentucky. Last Year...NCAA-2 (Murray State-2nd round; Belmont-won play-in game vs. Temple, lost in first round vs. Maryland).

PATRIOT...Tourney March 3, 4, 10, 11 all at home of higher seed for each matchup. Last year’s winner...Colgate. Top six seeds receive byes in first round.. Top contenders-Colgate, Boston U, American. Last Year...NCAA-1 (Colgate).

SOUTHERN...Tourney March 5-9 at U.S. Cellular Center, Asheville, NC. Top six seeds receive bye in first round. Last year’s winner...Wofford. Top contenders-East Tennessee State, Furman, NC-Greensboro, Western Carolina. Last year...NCAA-1 (Wofford-2nd round); NIT-2 (NC-Greensboro-2nd round), Furman; CIT-1 (East Tennessee State).

SOUTHLAND...Tourney March 13-17 at Merrell Center, Katy, TX. Top eight teams qualify; seeds 3-4 receive byes to 2nd round, seeds 1-2 receive byes into semifinals. Stephen F Austin will be top seed. Last year’s winner...Abilene Christian. Top contenders-Stephen F Austin*, Abilene Christian, Nicholls, Sam Houston State. Last Year...NCAA-1 (Abilene Christian); NIT-1 (Sam Houston State); CIT-1 (New Orleans).

SWAC...Tourney March 10 at campus site: March 13-14 at Gene Bartow Arena, Birmingham, AL. Top eight teams qualify. Last year’s winner...Prairie View. Top contenders-Prairie View, Texas Southern, Southern U, Alcorn State. Last year...NCAA-1 (Prairie View-lost play-in game vs. Fairleigh Dickinson); CIT-2 (Texas Southern-semifinals; Grambling).

SUMMIT...Tourney March 7-10 at Sanford Pentagon, Sioux Falls, SD (not the home court of nearby, Brookings-based South Dakota State, which plays its home games at Frost Arena, or nearby, Vermillion-based South Dakota, which plays its home games at the Dakota Dome). The Summit League was formerly known as Mid-Continent Conference. Last year’s winner...North Dakota State. Top contenders-South Dakota State, North Dakota State, South Dakota, Omaha. Last year...NCAA-1 (North Dakota State won play-in game vs. NC Central, lost in first round vs. Duke); NIT-1 (South Dakota State).

WAC...Tourney March 11-14 at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV. Cal Baptist is in transition phase to D-I and not eligible for conference title. Last year’s winner...New Mexico State. Top contenders-New Mexico State*, Seattle, UT Rio Grande Valley. Last year...NCAA-1 (New Mexico State); CIT-3 (CS Bakersfield-quarterfinals), UT Rio Grande Valley (2nd round), Seattle; CBI-3 (Utah Valley-quarterfinals, Cal Baptist, Grand Canyon).

Next week...final full TGS Bracketology update!. Don’t forget our big NCAA Tourney preview edition is coming soon...late Monday night, March 16!

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