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Guide to early high-stakes drama in men’s college basketball conference tournaments

The madness has arrived. The first men’s basketball conference tournaments start this week, beginning with the first round of the Atlantic Sun tournament on Monday. The first automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament will be awarded Saturday night in the Ohio Valley tournament title game. In many of these early events, the drama is at its peak, with only the winner earning a spot on Selection Sunday.

Here’s your guide to the 15 conference tournaments that kick off between now and Sunday. Brackets are provided for those leagues where they’ve already been set. New brackets will be added as they become available, and we’ll be back next Monday for the other 17 conference tournaments.

(Conferences are listed in alphabetical order; all times ET.)

**America East**
– *When it starts:* Saturday
– *Where:* Campus sites
– *Title game:* Saturday, March 16, 11 a.m., ESPN2
– *Top seed:* Vermont (25-6, 14-1 America East)
– The regular season concludes on Tuesday night, with Vermont once again securing the No. 1 seed for the seventh time in eight AmEast tournaments. The Catamounts are aiming for their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003.

**Atlantic Sun**
– *When it starts:* Monday
– *Where:* Campus sites
– *Title game:* Sunday, March 10, 2 p.m., ESPN2
– *Top seed:* Eastern Kentucky (17-13, 12-4 Atlantic Sun)
– Eastern Kentucky, led by standout Isaiah Cozart, is eyeing their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014. Queens, the No. 8 seed, is ineligible for the automatic bid due to its transition to Division I.

**Big South**
– *When it starts:* Wednesday
– *Where:* High Point, N.C.
– *Title game:* Sunday, March 10, Noon, ESPN2
– *Top seed:* High Point (24-7, 13-3 Big South)
– High Point clinched its first No. 1 seed under new coach Alan Huss and will face stiff competition from defending champions UNC Asheville.

(And so on for the remaining conferences)

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