2012 NCAA bracket predictions will clear up with even more automatic bids tonight
These aren't major conference championships, but the winners are all automatic qualifiers to the March Madness 2012 bracket. And you do want to do your homework on these guys. Odds are that at least one of these mid-major teams is going to pull off a shocker in the NCAA Tournament, it's just a matter of figuring out which one.
Three more of the 31 automatic bids definitely get handed out Tuesday night, and a fourth might also be awarded in the Ivy League. When in doubt, check out FanIQ's full rundown of teams that have already earned automatic bids to the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket.
Horizon League Championship
9pm ET, ESPN
Detroit (21-13) vs. Valparaiso Crusaders (22-10)
The Butler won't do it this year! The Butler Bulldogs have ridden a Horizon League Championship all the way to the NCAA title game the last two consecutive years, but this year but this year it's either Valparaiso or University of Detroit Mercy getting fit for those glass slippers. Valpo has swept Detroit in both of their regular season games, but coach's kid Ray McCallum, Jr. has been on a tear for Detroit -- scoring 58 points in three Horizon League Tournament games, the coach's son is closing in on the tournament scoring record and just 28 points shy of his career 1,000th point. This is your ESPN prime time game, people.
Summit League Championship
9pm ET, ESPN2
Western Illinois Leathernecks (18-13) vs South Dakota State Jackrabbits (18-13)
Oh, this Summit League has the greatest team mascot names. The Western Illinois Leathernecks beat out top seed Oral Roberts on Monday night, setting up an automatic bid game between two teams that have never been to the Big Dance. Neither South Dakota State nor Western Illinois has ever been in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in their Division I histories.
Sun Belt Championship
7pm ET, ESPN2
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (14-18) vs. North Texas Mean Green (18-13)
Western Kentucky are a below-.500 team getting hot at the right time. This is what Championship Week madness is all about, a Conference's No. 7 and a No. 5 seeds battling it out for the privilege of going to the NCAA Tournament. The winner will likely be the biggest underdog in the whole NCAA Tournament bracket.
(Potential) Ivy League Championship
7:30pm ET, ESPN3
Penn Quakers (19-11) vs Princeton Tigers (18-11)
It's the Ivy League, so things are obviously going to be more complicated. Jeremy Lin's alma mater Harvard could get an automatic bid tonight -- though they're not even one of the teams playing. If Penn wins, they earn the right to face Harvard in a one-game play-in to the Tournament. If Princeton wins, Harvard gets the automatic bid, and Princeton gets a nice morale boost heading into the NIT.