History in the making – @ACU_MBB is heading to @marchmadness for the first time after winning the @SouthlandSports championship! #GoWildcats #ScratchEm #WildcatMadness #GoingToTheDance pic.twitter.com/l6iDHOtC3O
— Abilene Christian University (@ACUedu) March 17, 2019
The 11th-ranked University of Houston Cougars and the UT Arlington Mavericks on Sunday will try to join two other programs in the state of Texas as automatic qualifiers in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Prairie View A&M and Abilene Christian qualified Saturday with victories in their respective conference tournament finals.
For Prairie View, it will be the school’s first NCAA appearance in 21 years. Abilene Christian has never made the Division I national tournament.
When the bracket is revealed later today, three Texas-based Big 12 squads likely will make the field.
Texas Tech and Baylor are considered locks, while TCU is probably in, as well, according to bracket projection analysts.
UT Arlington, under first-year coach Chris Ogden, plays Georgia State today in New Orleans for the Sun Belt Conference’s automatic bid.
The Mavericks will not make the NCAA field unless they win, meaning that they have much more riding on their game today than the Cougars.
The Cougars, regular-season champions in the American Athletic Conference, are expected to make the Big Dance as an at-large entry even if they lose today.
Houston is playing in Memphis against 24th-ranked Cincinnati.
Prairie View rallied from a 13-point, first-half deficit to stun the Texas Southern Tigers, 92-86, in the Southwestern Athletic Conference title game at Birmingham, Ala. Both the Panthers and Tigers shot 55 percent in the second half. Guard Gary Blackston had 17 points and six steals for Prairie View. The Panthers secured the school’s second NCAA bid and its first since 1998.
Abilene Christian routed New Orleans 77-60 at Katy for the Southland Conference crown behind Jaren Lewis, who had 20 points, six rebounds and three steals. The Wildcats moved from NCAA Division II to Division I six years ago. Under terms of the transition, they were ineligible to play in the SLC tournament for the first four years.
Regular-season champion Old Dominion earned the NCAA automatic bid with a 62-56 victory over former San Antonio prep standout Charles Bassey and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.