Up to date conference champs: there were five that clinched last night
On Thursday night, five teams either clinched their conference’s regular season title outright or earned at least a share of the regular season title. Teams that win the regular season title earn an automatic bid to the NIT if they lose in the conference tournament and don’t get an at-large bid.
Belmont: The Bruins used a 90-50 win over Kennesaw State to clinch the regular season title in the Atlantic Sun, the third straight year that they have taken home at least a share a such an honor. Belmont has not had as successful of a season as most pundits believed they would back in November, but this is a veteran group with a number of weapons offensively. They can win a tournament game with the right matchup.
Bucknell: Had Bucknell lost to American on Thursday night, the Patriot League race would have gotten incredibly interesting. Heading into the final game of the regular season, Bucknell would have been in a three-way tie for first place in the league. As it currently stands, the Bison hold a one game lead over Lehigh, but with Navy coming to town on Saturday, this race is all but over.
Davidson: With a 66-45 victory over Elon, the Wildcats clinched their first regular season title since 2009, when Stephen Curry was still wearing red and white. Davidson is not going to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, but with a win over Kansas in Kansas City and competitive losses to Duke and Vanderbilt, its clear that this team will be a thorn in the side of whoever they draw in the first round should they make it that far.
Long Island: The NEC has been one of the most interesting conference in the country this season, as Robert Morris and Wagner have all looked competent enough to win the league. But the Blackbirds were simply too much. The race for the league title isn’t over -- LIU holds a one game lead over Wagner with one game, a trip to Monmouth, left -- but since the Blackbirds own a win over Danny Hurley’s team, the top seed in the conference tournament is already locked up thanks to their 91-80 win over FDU.
St. Mary’s: The Gaels are in quite an interesting situation. Prior to their 70-43 win at Portland, St. Mary’s was struggling. It looked like they had blown the inside track at a league title with a loss to Loyola Marymount, but that doubt was erased with Gonzaga, who beat BYU to move into sole possession of second place in the league, lost at San Francisco. Ironically enough, that’s the same place SMC is playing on.
Who has clinched their league outright?
Long Beach State, Big West
Middle Tennessee State, Sun Belt
Mississippi Valley State, SWAC
Murray State, Ohio Valley
Oral Roberts, Summit
UNC-Asheville, Big South
Wichita State, Missouri Valley
Who has clinched a share of their regular season?
Stony Brook, America East
Syracuse, Big East
Utah Valley State, Great West