College Hoops Autobids: Who will be this year’s Cinderella teams?

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Wondering who the 2020 NCAA tournament automatic bids are? Which of college basketball’s automatic bids can win a game in March Madness 2020? We have you covered!

It’s time for March Madness 2020! Below, you will find an image that details every 2020 conference tournament schedule, and as you scroll down you will find the 2020 conference tournament brackets.

Make sure that you are ready for the madness.

For those schools who are flirting with the NCAA Tournament bubble, click here for the latest projections of who’s in and who’s out. And for the rest of the field interested in where your team may be headed for the Big Dance, click here for our latest NCAA Tournament projections. (And if you really want to get ahead of the game, get your printable NCAA Tournament bracket here.)

Below, you will find each and every one of the 2020 NCAA Tournament’s automatic bids.

2020 NCAA Tournament Automatic Bids


The Aggies were in danger of missing the 2020 NCAA tournament, but thanks to Sam Merrill taking over for three days in Las Vegas, Utah State has punched themselves a ticket to the 2020 NCAA tournament with an automatic bid. And to be frank, I would have to be the five or six-seed that has to draw this team in the first round. We saw how good Merrill can be these last three days. What we haven’t truly seen yet this season is just how dangerous Neemias Queta is. There are two borderline pros on a team with one of the better coaches outside the mid-major ranks in Craig Smith complete with a handful of talented role players.

Utah State underachieved all season long. They were a top 20 team in the preseason for a reason. We saw it on Saturday night, and eventually someone is going to see it in the NCAA tournament, too.


The Bruins avenged a loss is last year’s Ohio Valley tournament title game by beating Murray State. The Bruins are going to be a dangerous team in the tournament again this year because of their ability to shoot and the fact that they have a big guy that can produce. Last season, Belmont picked up their first ever win in the NCAA tournament when they beat Temple in a play-in game because losing a thriller to Maryland, and I think that they are good enough to win another game in March this year.


Hampton made the Eagles sweat early, but Winthrop took control in the second half to earn its second Big South tournament championship and NCAA tournament bid in four years with a 76-68 victory. Winthrop had a 14-game winning streak earlier this season and defeated St. Mary’s in November, but a weak strength of schedule in the Big South likely means they’re headed for a 16-seed and an incredibly difficult path to the second round.


The Braves are headed back to the NCAA tournament for the second-straight year despite barely finishing in the top-half of the conference standings in both seasons thanks to the chaos that is Arch Madness in St. Louis. Bradley knocked off Valpo in the title game, 80-66. The Braves have the core of last year’s tourney team back for another go-round and they can really shoot it from distance, so if they can be a 14-seed or better, they could emerge as a promising Cinderella pick for brackets across the country.


Liberty had little trouble wrapping up its second-straight trip to the NCAA tournament by turning in a 73-57 win against Lipscomb, who beat the Flames in the teams’ regular-season finale. The Flames won a game in the tournament last year as a 12-seed, dispatching No. 5 Mississippi State in the first round before losing to Virginia Tech. Much of that team remains for the second trip to the Big Dance, and the Flames could become a trendy upset pick.

SOCON AUTOMATIC BID: East Tennessee State

The Buccaneers made sure they did not need to worry about trying to get an at-large bid, as they went out and won the SoCon tournament with a double-digit win over Wofford in the title game. This is the second time that Steve Forbes has been to the tournament with ETSU, and the major question at this point is whether or not this team can keep Forbes for another season; he’s certainly going to be a target from bigger programs. But that doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that the Buccaneers have a chance to win a game in this event, and they will certainly be a trendy first round upset pick.


The Ivy League announced on Tuesday that they have cancelled their conference tournament, meaning that the Elis are heading to the Big Dance as the Ivy’s automatic bid. And they are legit. Jordan Bruner and Paul Atkinson can match up with most frontlines in college basketball, and Azar Swaim is a dangerous shooter. The Elis look like they are destined to end up as a No. 13 seed, and if they do, they will be a real threat to win another game in the NCAA tournament. James Jones has turned New Haven’s Ivy program into a powerhouse.


For the first time in 19 years, the Pride are headed to the NCAA tournament. Hofstra knocked off Northeastern in the CAA tournament title game, completing a sweep of CAA titles. This is a team that is going to be a threat to do some damage in the field of 68. They have a pair of really talented guards is Desure Buie and Eli Pemberton, and they are top 25 in the country in three-point shooting percentage. They are not big, but they are dangerous if they get hot.


It’s been quite a season for the Norse. A year after getting to the NCAA tournament under head coach John Brannen, NKU turned around and made it to the NCAA tournament in their first season under new head coach Darrin Horn. The No. 2 seed in the Horizon League tournament, the Norse knocked off Green Bay and Illinois-Chicago en route to the automatic bid. This is the third trip to the NCAA tournament in the last four years for a team that has been in the Division I ranks for exactly five years. That’s an incredible run.


Andy Toole is back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015. At the time, Bobby Mo was running as well as any mid-major program in the country. They had won back-to-back regular season titles in the two years before getting to the dance. Since then, the Colonials have been ravaged by transfers as much as any program in the sport. It took five years to get back on top, but Toole did it, and he was aided by the fact that Merrimack — the NEC’s regular season champion — was not eligible to play in March.


Dave Richman is heading back to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season and for the third time in his six seasons as the held of the Bison. He also won a share of this year’s Summit League regular season title, and they have only lost a single regular season game since January 25th. As a projected No. 15 seed, I don’t know if a team that plays as conservatively as NDSU can pull off an upset, but they are not going to be an easy out against whoever they play. They do not beat themselves.


The Zags were already a lock for the Big Dance, but by running through the WCC tournament — including a statement win over St. Mary’s in the title game — Gonzaga has played their way into being a lock for a No. 1 seed.

PATRIOT: March 11th, 7:30 p.m.
AMERICAN EAST: March 14th, 11:00 p.m.
MEAC: March 14th, 1:00 p.m.
MAAC: March 14th, 4:00 p.m.
SWAC: March 14th, 6:00 p.m.
BIG 12: March 14th, 6:00 p.m.
BIG EAST: March 14th, 6:30 p.m.
MAC: March 14th, 7:30 p.m.
BIG SKY: March 14th, 8:00 p.m.
ACC: March 14th, 8:30 p.m.
CONFERENCE USA: March 14th, 8:30 p.m.
SOUTHLAND: March 14th, 9:30 p.m.
PAC-12: March 14th, 10:30 p.m.
WAC: March 14th, 1:00 p.m.
BIG WEST: March 14th, 11:30 p.m.
ATLANTIC 10: March 15th, 1:00 p.m.
SEC: March 15th, 1:00 p.m.
AMERICAN: March 15th, 3:15 p.m.
BIG TEN: March 15th, 3:30 p.m.

How do I watch the 2020 March Madness games?

Myriad networks broadcast the conference tournaments, including (but not limited to) ESPN, CBS, NBCSN, Fox, Big Ten Network, SEC Network, ACC Network and more. There’s a full rundown of the 2020 conference tournament brackets and their respective TV networks available here.

2020 NCAA Tournament automatic bids to the Big Dance

As a reminder, any school that wins its conference tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. For the men, that means 32 teams will get a spot in the bracket, while another 36 receive at-large bids. We’ll be tracking those automatic bids as well. Click here for more info on NCAA tournament automatic bids.

When do Selection Sunday and the NCAA Tournament begin?

Selection Sunday for the 2020 NCAA Tournament is on March 15 (about 4 pm ET), while the games begin a couple days later. The First Four is on March 17 and 18 (which airs on TruTV), while the craziness of Round 1 starts on Thursday, March 19. The four networks that air those games are: CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV.

The Sweet 16 games begin on March 26 and will air on CBS and TBS. Elite Eight games start on March 28 and also air on CBS and TBS.

The Final Four, held in Atlanta this year, starts on Saturday, April 4. The National Title Game is Monday, April 6. All of those games air on TBS.


Purdue’s Edey returning to school at NBA draft deadline; Kentucky’s Tshiebwe stays in

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Purdue’s Zach Edey decided it was the right call to go back to school instead of staying in the NBA draft. His predecessor as national player of the year, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, is sticking with his pro pursuit.

And Connecticut’s reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same.

The 7-foot-4 Edey and UConn guard Tristen Newton were among the notable names to announce that they were withdrawing from the draft, the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to pull out and retain their college eligibility.

Edey’s decision came in social media posts from both the center and the Boilermakers program that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind Edey, The Associated Press men’s national player of the year.

But Tshiebwe announced late in the afternoon that he would remain in the draft after a college career that included being named the AP national player of the year in 2022.

For the current champions, Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) is returning after being one of four Huskies to declare for the draft after a run to UConn’s fifth national championship in early April. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.

The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) have made it clear they have closed the door on their college careers, while team spokesman Phil Chardis said that Jackson (6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) would remain in the draft.

The Huskies have 247sports’ No. 3-ranked recruiting class for next year to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12, but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school due to the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain playing eligibility.


TREY ALEXANDER: Creighton gets back a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.6 points and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first full season as a starter.

ADEM BONA: The 6-foot-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games as a rookie and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.

EDEY: He averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 60.7% from the field. His presence alone helps Purdue be a factor in the Big Ten race.

JOSIAH-JORDAN JAMES: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League Combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.

JUDAH MINTZ: The 6-3 freshman averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for Syracuse, ranking third among Division I freshmen in scoring behind only Alabama’s Brandon Miller and Lamar’s Nate Calmese.

OWLS’ RETURNEES: Florida Atlantic got good news after its surprise Final Four run with the return leading scorers Johnell Davis (13.8) and Alijah Martin (13.4). ESPN first reported their decisions, while Martin later posted a social media statement.

TERRENCE SHANNON JR.: Illinois got a big boost with Shannon announcing his night in a social media post. The 6-6 guard is returning for a fifth college season after averaging 17.2 points.

SPARTANS’ RETURNEES: Michigan State announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the NBA draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker had previously withdrawn in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.


KOBE BROWN: Missouri’s 6-8 swingman opted against returning for a fifth college season after being an AP first-team all-Southeastern Conference pick averaging 15.8 points last season.

JAYLEN CLARK: The third-year UCLA guard averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while leading the Pac-12 with 2.6 steals en route to being named Naismith national defensive player of the year. Cronin called him a winner with strong intangibles who made UCLA “a better program because he chose to be a Bruin.”

BRICE SENSABAUGH: The Ohio State freshman averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31 games before missing his final two in the Big Ten Tournament due to a knee injury. He’s a potential first-round prospect.

TSHIEBWE: The 6-9, 260-pound forward is a tough interior presence who led the country in rebounds for two straight seasons (15.1 in 2022, 13.7 in 2023) while racking up 48 double-doubles. But he faces an uncertain next stop and is projected at best as a second-round prospect.

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona

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Caleb Love is now headed to Arizona.

The North Carolina transfer tweeted, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan, that he will play next season with the Wildcats.

“Caleb is a tremendously talented guard who has significant experience playing college basketball at a high level,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said in a statement. “We look forward to helping Caleb grow his game at Arizona. And as we near the completion of the roster for the upcoming season, we feel great about how everything has come together. Now it’s time for the real work to start.”

A 6-foot-4 guard, Love averaged 14.6 points and 3.3 assists in three seasons at North Carolina. He averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games, helping lead the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game.

Love entered the transfer portal after leading North Carolina with 73 3-pointers as a junior and initially committed to Michigan. He decommitted from the Wolverines earlier this month, reportedly due to an admissions issue involving academic credits.

Love narrowed his transfer targets to three schools before choosing to play at Arizona over Gonzaga and Texas.

Love will likely start on a team that will have dynamic perimeter players, including Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell and Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.

Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

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MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. returning for last season of eligibility

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Kevin McCullar Jr. said that he will return to Kansas for his final year of eligibility, likely rounding out a roster that could make the Jayhawks the preseason No. 1 next season.

McCullar transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas for last season, when he started 33 of 34 games and averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. He was also among the nation’s leaders in steals, and along with being selected to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, the 6-foot-6 forward was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

“To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the nation, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog,” McCullar said in announcing his return.

Along with McCullar, the Jayhawks return starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and K.J. Adams from a team that went 28–8, won the Big 12 regular-season title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Arkansas in the second round.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks landed Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, widely considered the best player in the portal, to anchor a lineup that was missing a true big man. They also grabbed former five-star prospect Arterio Morris, who left Texas, and Towson’s Nick Timberlake, who emerged last season as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

The Jayhawks also have an elite recruiting class arriving that is headlined by five-star recruit Elmarko Jackson.

McCullar declared for the draft but, after getting feedback from scouts, decided to return. He was a redshirt senior last season, but he has another year of eligibility because part of his career was played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “Kevin is not only a terrific player but a terrific teammate. He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”