March Madness gets the biggest headlines, but college basketball junkies understand that the festivities don’t start on Selection Sunday: Champ Week is a can’t-miss appetizer.
We were largely robbed of this in 2020. Sure, we got to see Sam Merrill break San Diego State’s heart in the final seconds of the MWC Tournament Final, we watched Belmont win another OVC Tournament, Bradley took home its second-straight MVC Tournament title, and the very start of the major conference tournaments tipped off, but that was about it. It appears we will be getting much, much more in 2021.
A few tickets have already been punched. Morehead State (OVC), Winthrop (Big South), Liberty (ASUN) and Loyola-Chicago (MVC) have won their conference tournaments and secured bids to the Big Dance, and two more invitations will be delivered today in the SoCon and Sun Belt as Champ Week gets underway.
In less than a week’s time, all conference tournaments will have began and concluded, and we will have our first NCAA Tournament bracket since 2019. It’s actually happening.
This time last year, sports as a whole were canceled in the middle of Champ Week. So, let us rejoice in what was cruelly stolen from us in 2020, one of countless victims in this horrific pandemic.
All the conference tournament schedules are set. March has begun. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Now for some other news from across the sport this week:
Nothing But News: March 2-8, 2021
Giannis Antetokounmpo was named NBA All-Star Game MVP as Team LeBron beat Team Durant, 170-150.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were forced to miss the NBA All-Star Game because of contact tracing protocols after both were in close contact with a barber who tested positive for COVID-19.
Charli Collier announced she will leave Texas early for the 2021 WNBA Draft.
Iowa announced it will retire Luka Garza’s No. 55 jersey after the season, prompting an emotional response from one of the nation’s top players.
Adam Silver said he sees the 2021-2022 NBA season being on a “regular” schedule.
Georgia Tech’s Moses Wright won ACC Player of the Year. He was a zero-star recruit coming out of high school.
Get Caught Up on NBN Content!
Here’s a recap of some of our content from the last week:
When Was the Last Time Rutgers Made the NCAA Tournament?
Rutgers men’s basketball is in line for an NCAA Tournament bid, which would make it the program’s first trip to the Big Dance in 30 years. Look back at the last time the Scarlet Knights featured in March Madness.
Best March Madness Runs Since 2010
It was an unforgettable decade of NCAA Tournaments. We were robbed of a March Madness in 2020, so the last 10 tournaments still dates back to 2010. These are the 11 best March Madness runs in that time, plus with a handful of honorable mentions.
Bracketology 2021: Predicting the NCAA Tournament (March 5, 2021)
Two bracketology updates came out last week on Tuesday and Friday, per usual. The bracket is constantly changing this time of year, especially in this weird season. You can expect more updates multiple times this week as Selection Sunday gets closer and closer.
Bubble Watch 2021: Locks, Should Be, Over, On & Bursting (March 5, 2021)
Our Bubble Watch series returned for its third week, explaining in detail where every team in remote tournament contention stands relative to the cutline and why. If you’re someone who pays attention to bracketology but doesn’t really get how it works, this is for you.