Villanova and Gonzaga – two heavy march madness betting favorites – have come one step closer to receiving automatic bids to the 2017 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament by clinching no worse than a share of first place in their respective conferences. The team with the best regular-season record in each conference is given the number one seed in each of the single-elimination tournaments with which the 32 Division I athletic conferences end their regular seasons. The winners of these tournaments receive automatic invitations to the 2017 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.
Champagne Villanova secured an unheard-of fourth consecutive Big East Conference regular-season title with a 92-70 win over Seton Hall on Saturday. The Wildcats shot a season-best 67% from the field and went on a 22-1 run across halves to take charge and leave the Pirates with little march madness betting hopes other than in the minds of very optimistic fans who bet on march madness. Nova lost the Big East Tournament championship game to Seton Hall last season and they can sure hold a grudge – even though they went on to win the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats are ranked 2nd in the AP and Coaches polls and was ranked the top-rated team in the country according to the Division I men’s basketball committee in the first-ever in-season look at NCAA Tournament Bracket.
The Zig Zags clinched at least a tie for Gonzaga‘s 20th West Coast Conference title with an 82-61 win over Pacific on Saturday. The Bulldogs are now just two wins away from an undefeated regular season – which would make them the first school to do so since Kentucky in the 2014-15 season. Gonzaga is enjoying the best start in the history of the program, and has won 20 consecutive games by double figures. The Zags have wins against seven teams in the top 50 in RPI. The Bulldogs have trailed less than 7% of the time in their games this season, and only two times in the second half. Gonzaga is the top-ranked team in the AP and Coaches poll as well as the fourth No. 1 seed in the Division I men’s basketball committee, and assigned to the West regional in San Jose.
Nova and the Zags (great name for a glam band, btw) are not the only colleges that have clinched at least a share of their respective conferences regular season crowns. Then again, fans who bet on March madness would hardly call those other teams march madness betting favorites. Vermont is undefeated 14-0 in ACC play, good for the America East Conference’s title. Florida Gulf Coast secured a piece of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Monmouth Hawks won the MAAC regular season championship with a win over on Thursday. The Belmont Bruins clinched the Ohio Valley Conference outright for the fourth time in five seasons also on Thursday. And the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers have done likewise in the Atlantic Sun Conference and the Northeast Conference, respectively.