Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Picking winners of first 15 conference tournaments of 2023-24 season

Championship Week part 1 is here and I have taken my best shot at trying to pick which teams will win their leagues and get their automatic bids into the NCAA tournament.

Jan 6, 2024; Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA; James Madison Dukes head coach Mark Byington, right, and
Jan 6, 2024; Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA; James Madison Dukes head coach Mark Byington, right, and / Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
11 of 15

Southern Conference

Dates: March 8th-11th
Location: Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, NC
Top Seed: Samford Bulldogs
Winner: Samford Bulldogs

I know that the Bulldogs have lost some games in the league recently after their early season dominance, but Bucky Ball will not be denied this year. The Bulldogs are loaded and for those not familiar with the Bulldogs let me fill you in. They play fast, take, and make a ton of threes, take great shots inside the arc, move the ball well, and get a ton of steals and rebounds to get them out in transition. The Bulldogs can score quickly and overwhelm opponents quickly.

The top of the Southern Conference is loaded and there is a lot of individual talent in the league. The top seed is going to get challenged but they are the favorite going in and have the most talented roster in the Southern Conference. Big man Achor Achor has a penchant for putting up huge numbers in big games and he may be a guy who wins the tournament MVP. Samford should finally get back to the tournament.

Sleeper: Western Carolina Catamounts

Western Carolina has the best player in the league and the best player in the country for my money. The Catamounts are dangerous because they have the best player. Vonterius Woolbright is his name, and he is a walking triple-double. He will change the game and he will be the guy who can keep Western Carolina in any game in this tournament. The Catamounts have already lost to the top two teams in the league.

As a rule, although not a hard and fast rule, it is extremely hard to beat a team three times and since no one has home-court advantage in this event it is usually the best players who stand out. Woolbright is going to be a guy who wins games by himself for the Catamounts, and he is going to do his best to get them to the tournament for the second time ever. This league has the potential to get crazy and Western Carolina has the best player who can really mess up this bracket.