Big Ten has record 9 NCAA tourney teams; 4 get 1 or 2 seeds

The Big Ten again has more teams in the NCAA Tournament than any other conference, including a pair of No. 1 seeds and two No. 2s among its record nine teams in the Big Dance.

That is one more than the eight Big Ten teams that made it to the last NCAA Tournament played two years ago, when the conference doubled the number of teams that it had in the 2018 tournament.

Now that this regular season and all of the postseason conference tournaments have been completed, college basketball has gotten a step further than it did last March, when the NCAA Tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic days before Selection Sunday and no 68-team field was set.

The ACC and Big 12 both got seven teams into this year’s tournament and the SEC got six. The Pac-12 has five teams advancing and the Big East four.

For the second NCAA tourney in a row, there are multiple teams from 11 different conferences. Before 2019, that hadn’t happened since 2015.

Big Ten teams Michigan and Illinois are No. 1 seeds, while Iowa and Ohio State are No. 2 seeds, with those four teams all in different regions. The Illini beat Ohio State in overtime to win the Big Ten Tournament championship, and were still cutting down the nets in Indianapolis — where the Final Four will also be played — when their spot in the NCAA field was being revealed.

There were automatic qualifiers from 31 conferences, down one from the usual 32 after the Ivy League opted out of the season. That meant an additional at-large berth.


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