Appalachian State is heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000 after capping an improbable run through the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on Monday with an 80-73 win over No. 1 seed Georgia State. As the No. 4 seed from the league’s East Division, the Mountaineers were forced to play four games in four days and went to overtime twice during the journey.
They still, however, had enough energy at the final horn to rush the floor and celebrate a monumental achievement for a school better known to most for its strong football legacy. Though Appalachian State (17-11) didn’t receive a great seed in the league tournament, the Mountaineers showed during their four-day run that they could be a threat in the NCAA Tournament. With four guards — including a pair of seniors in Justin Forrest and Michael Almonacy — averaging double figures — watch out because this is the type of team that busts brackets.
The Mountaineers were one of two teams to secure an automatic bid to the Big Dance on Monday, joining UNC Greensboro, which survived an upset bid from No. 7 seed Mercer in the Southern Conference Tournament final to win 69-61. The Spartans were the No. 1 seed in the SoCon and will be making their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament under ninth-year coach Wes Miller. Star guard Isaiah Miller led all scorers with 25 points in the title game after scoring 21 in quarterfinal and semifinal victories over The Citadel and ETSU.
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We’re keeping up with the various tournament schedules and automatic qualifiers here as the madness of March begins to heat up.
Monday’s conference tournament schedule, scores
- Colonial: Semifinals
- Horizon League: Semifinals
- MAAC: First round
- Southern: Championship (Mercer vs. UNC Greensboro)
- Summit: Semifinals
- Sun Belt: Championship (Appalachian State vs. Georgia State)
- WCC: Semifinals
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2021 conference tournament schedules
|Conference||Tournament site||Dates||Championship Game, Time, TV|
|AAC||Fort Worth, Texas||March 11-14||March 14, 3:15 p.m., ESPN|
|ACC||Greensboro, N.C.||March 9-13||March 13, 8:30 p.m., ESPN|
|America East||Campus sites||Feb. 27-28, March 6,13||March 13, 11 a.m., ESPN2|
|Atlantic 10||Richmond,/Dayton||March 3-6, 14||March 14, 1 p.m., CBS|
|ASUN||Jacksonville, Fla.||March 3-7||Liberty (23-5)|
|Big East||New York||March 10-13||March 13, TBA, FOX/FS1|
|Big Sky||Boise, Idaho||March 10-13||March 13, 8 p.m., ESPNU|
|Big South||Campus sites||Feb. 27, March 1,4,7||Winthrop (23-1)|
|Big Ten||Indianapolis||March 10-14||March 14, 3:30 p.m., CBS|
|Big 12||Kansas City||March 10-13||March 13, 6 p.m., ESPN|
|Big West||Anaheim||March 9, 11-13||March 13, 11:30 p.m., ESPN2|
|Colonial||Washington D.C.||March 6-9||March 9, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network|
|Conference USA||Frisco, Texas||March 9-13||March 13, TBA, CBS Sports Network|
|Horizon League||Indianapolis||Feb. 25, March 2, 8-9||March 9, 7 p.m., ESPN|
|Ivy League||No Tournament in 2021|
|MAAC||Atlantic City, N.J.||March 9-13||March 13, 4 p.m., ESPNU|
|MAC||Cleveland, Ohio||March 11-13||March 13, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2|
|MEAC||Norfolk, Va.||March 11-13||March 13, 1 p.m., ESPN2|
|Missouri Valley||St. Louis||March 4-7||Loyola Chicago (24-4)|
|Mountain West||Las Vegas||March 10-13||March 13, 6 p.m., CBS|
|Northeast||Campus sites||March 6 & 9||March 9, 7 p.m., ESPN2|
|Ohio Valley||Evansville, Ind.||March 3-6||Morehead State (23-7)|
|Pac-12||Las Vegas||March 10-13||March 13, 10:30 p.m., ESPN|
|Patriot||Campus sites||March 3, 6, 10 & 14||March 14, Noon, CBS Sports Network|
|SEC||Nashville, Tenn.||March 10-14||March 14, 1 p.m., ESPN|
|Southern||Asheville, N.C||March 5-8||UNCG (21-8)|
|Southland||Katy, Texas||March 9-13||March 13, 9:30 p.m., ESPN2|
|Summit||Sioux Falls, S.D.||March 6-9||March 9, 9 p.m., ESPN2|
|Sun Belt||Pensacola, Fla.||March 5-8||Appalachian State (17-11)|
|SWAC||Birmingham, Ala.||March 10-13||March 13, 6 p.m., ESPNU|
|WAC||Las Vegas||March 10-13||March 13, 10 p.m., ESPNU|
|West Coast||Las Vegas||March 4-6 & 8-9||March 9, 9 p.m., ESPN|