Iona, UNC Greensboro claim NCAA tourney berths

The Iona Gaels and UNC Greensboro Spartans on Monday claimed automatic bids to the NCAA tournament.

Iona will advance for the third straight year.

The Gaels beat Fairfield 83-71 in Albany, New York, to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament championship.

UNC Greensboro will make its first NCAA appearance in 17 years.

The Spartans won the Southern Conference Tournament title with a 62-47 victory over the East Tennessee State Buccaneers at Asheville, North Carolina.

UNC Greensboro last played in the NCAA tournament in 2001.

Five more conferences will crown champions on Tuesday night, including the West Coast Conference, with sixth-ranked Gonzaga meeting BYU.

BYU advanced to the title game with an 85-72 victory over 20th-ranked Saint Mary’s.

NCAA automatic qualifiers

Ohio Valley — Murray State (26-5)

Missouri Valley – Loyola-Chicago (28-5)

Big Ten — Michigan (28-7)

Big South — Radford (22-12)

Atlantic Sun — Lipscomb (23-9)

Southern — UNC Greensboro (27-7)

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference — Iona (20-13)