/March Madness 2021: Conference tournaments begin, schedules, NCAA Tournament automatic bids

March Madness 2021: Conference tournaments begin, schedules, NCAA Tournament automatic bids

Getty Images

Even though it is still February, March Madness is officially here with the first games in college basketball’s postseason. The Horizon League Tournament begins Thursday featuring four games in the first round with the league’s quarterfinals set for Tuesday. Cleveland State is the No. 1 seed in the tournament, which concludes on March 9.

The brackets are also set for the America East and Big South tournaments, which begin Saturday.

Other conferences have already begun adjusting their league tournaments because of complications with the ongoing pandemic. The Atlantic 10 announced last week that it is moving its men’s tournament up a week to March 3-6, while the West Coast Conference announced that it will adopt a unique seeding formula.

The A-10’s reasoning for moving the date of its men’s tournament up is to provide “additional play dates and flexibility for the league to adjust to any unforeseen COVID-19 interruption,” according to a league announcement.

“Altering our championship dates provides additional time for our student-athletes, coaches, support staff and institutions to adjust to additional COVID-19 protocols in preparation for the A-10 championships and postseason play,” A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said. “I am so appreciative to our media partners who have all agreed to adjust our television windows and dates, making this concept work. I also commend the Presidents and Athletic Directors for having the foresight to make this adjustment and allow for the flexibility in the dates of each championship.”

The WCC, meanwhile, will seed teams for its league tournament based on their KenPom ranking. The popular analytics-based website is being used to dictate seeding since the league’s teams have played an uneven number of games due to disruptions from the pandemic. These are just a couple of the early oddities that have bubbled up as the postseason nears. We’ll be tracking each of the conference tournaments here.

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.

2021 conference tournament schedules

Conference Tournament site Dates Championship Game, Time, TV
AAC Fort Worth, Texas March 11-14 March 14, 3:15 p.m., ESPN
ACC Washington DC March 9-13 March 13, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
America East Campus sites March 27-28, March 6,13 March 13, 11 a.m., ESPN2
Atlantic 10 Brooklyn, N.Y. March 3-6 March 14, 1 p.m., CBS
Atlantic Sun Jacksonville, Fla. March 3-7 March 7, 2 p.m., ESPN
Big East New York March 10-13 March 13, TBA, FOX/FS1
Big Sky Boise, Idaho March 10-13 March 13, 8 p.m., ESPNU
Big South Campus sites Feb. 27, March 1,4,7 March 7, Noon, ESPN
Big Ten Indianapolis March 10-14 March 14, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Big 12 Kansas City March 10-13 March 13, 6 p.m., ESPN
Big West Anaheim March 9, 11-13 March 13, 11:30 p.m., ESPN2
Colonial Washington D.C. March 6-9 March 9, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Conference USA Frisco, Texas March 9-13 March 13, TBA, CBS Sports Network
Horizon League Indianapolis Feb. 25, March 2, 8-9 March 9, 7 p.m., ESPN
Ivy League No Tournament in 2021
MAAC Atlantic City, N.J. March 9-13 March 13, 4 p.m., ESPNU
MAC Cleveland, Ohio March 11-13 March 13, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
MEAC Norfolk, Va. March 10-13 March 13, 1 p.m., ESPN2
Missouri Valley St. Louis March 4-7 March 7, 2 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Mountain West Las Vegas March 10-13 March 13, 6 p.m., CBS
Northeast Campus sites March 6 & 9 March 9, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Ohio Valley Evansville, Ind. March 3-6 March 6, 8 p.m., ESPN2
Pac-12 Las Vegas March 10-13 March 13, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
Patriot Campus sites March 6, 10 & 14 March 14, Noon, CBS Sports Network
SEC Nashville, Tenn. March 10-14 March 14, 1 p.m., ESPN
Southern Asheville, N.C March 5-8 March 8, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Southland Katy, Texas March 10-13 March 13, 9:30 p.m., ESPN2
Summit Sioux Falls, S.D. March 6-9 March 9, 9 p.m., ESPN2
Sun Belt Pensacola, Fla. March 5-8 March 8, 7 p.m., ESPN2
SWAC Birmingham, Ala. March 9, 12-13 March 13, 6 p.m., ESPNU
WAC Las Vegas March 10-13 March 13, 10 p.m., ESPNU
West Coast Las Vegas March 4-6 & 8-9 March 9, 9 p.m., ESPN