The peak of the Division I basketball season has begun and the conference tournaments are underway.
This past weekend, many Hope College students may have celebrated as the University of Michigan Wolverines won the Big Ten Championship tournament, giving them an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Michigan defeated the Purdue University Boilermakers on Sunday with a final score of 75-66.
Selection Sunday is this weekend, and 68 teams will make it into the NCAA tournament bracket. Several other teams have already claimed their spot in the tournament by winning their conference championship, including the Lipscomb Bisons from the Atlantic Sun conference, the Radford Highlanders from the Big South conference, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers from the Missouri Valley conference and the Murray State Racers from the Ohio Valley conference. Winners of conference championship tournaments get an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament bracket. There have been a few surprises thus far in the conference championships, with Radford coming out on top as just one example. Anything can happen in these games, and without a secured position, it is uncertain who will be included and with what rank. Only time will tell as fans get ready to cheer on their favorite teams during this exciting month.
According to the AP Top 25 rankings for week 18, three of the top ten teams are from the Big Ten Conference. These teams are close to home for many Hope students.
What’s your favorite team?
When asked why their team has the best chance of winning the NCAA tournament, students voiced their opinions:
“Michigan is playing really well and are going to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.” -John Dyke (’20)
“Michigan State has won the Big Ten in the regular season and had very little losses. It’s March and Coach Izzo is great in March.” -Seth Costello (’20)
“Having a team that goes on a 19-game win streak and still loses the Big Ten regular season and tournament is just typical Purdue. As the third best basketball team in the country, they should have come out with the win.” -Peter Timperman (’18)