March Madness 2023: College basketball conference tournament predictions, picks, odds, sleepers

Selection Sunday is less than a week away and that also means college basketball’s major conferences are gearing up for their championships. The next few days will be full of all-day action where teams will fight for their spots in the NCAA Tournament and bragging rights after the grind of regular season play.

A year ago, this week we were surprised, for example the seed No. 7 Virginia Tech who won the ACC Tournament and seeded No. 5 Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament. It also came with some heartbreak when the No. 1 seed won. 8 Texas A&M three games in three days to reach the SEC Tournament final, just missing the title game and narrowly missing out on an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.

Some teams will soon depart their conference tournament, put it behind them and regroup for the NCAA Tournament. But others don’t have that luxury and will be playing for the rest of their lives. In terms of the NCAA Tournament bubble every major conference except the Big East in Jerry Palm’s Bracketology has at least one team on the bubble, and some conferences have multiple bubble squads. So what’s in store for the action?

Our experts have combed through the conference tournament brackets of the best leagues in the sport and come up with championship predictions and sleeper picks from each bracket. Pick courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook

Athletic Conference Tournament

Break down: Seed No. 1 Houston is the team to beat in the AAC as the Cougars prepare for their final league championship before joining the Big 12 next season. The only other AAC squad with a strong case for the NCAA Tournament is No. 1 seed Memphis. 2, but there’s a solid, upset hunting pack behind those two. Watch out for No. 1 seed Tulane. 3, who beat Memphis twice, and would not sleep on the seed Temple No. 5, who beat Houston on the road. Ultimately, the Cougars are the favorites as they try to win a third straight AAC Tournament on their way out of the series.

AAC Tournament schedule, pairings

Choice to win the American Athletic Conference Championship

ACC competition

Break down: The ACC has been the target of criticism for its overall struggles this season, but the league’s regular season title race was the most dramatic of any power conference. Now comes the five-day melee to decide the tournament champion. If the ACC has one thing on other leagues this season, it’s parity, and there are plenty of viable candidates to cut the nets on Saturday. Squads like the No. 1 seed 3 Clemson and the No. 1 seed. 7 North Carolina is also fighting to build their NCAA Tournament resumes, which adds another layer of intrigue. While it’s a down year for the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Louisville and Syracuse by their historical standards, the open nature of the ACC should make for some great competition.

ACC Tournament Schedule, pairs

Choice of winning the ACC Tournament

Big East Tournament

Break down: There is a clear outline among the teams in the Big East as the top five seeds – all of them safe – are the league’s NCAA Championship teams. After that group, the best chance for a surprise run is the No. 1 seed. 6 Villanova and the Wildcats look to continue a late-season surge under first-year coach Kyle Neptune. The No. 1 seed won 1 Marquette regular season title after being picked to finish eighth, marking the third time the program has claimed the Big East title. But the Golden Eagles have never won the Big East Tournament since joining the league for the 2005-06 season. If they pull it off, it would only strengthen the case of national coach of the year Shaka Smart.

Big East Tournament Schedule, pairs

Odds to win the Big East Tournament

Big Ten Tournament

Break down: The Big Ten Tournament probably has more influence in determining the shape of the NCAA Tournament field than any other league tournament. Entering the week, CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm had four teams from the conference considered bubble squads. Among them are Penn State and Michigan, who are among the “Last Four In” and Wisconsin among the “First Four Out.” Rutgers will also need to make some noise after losing six of its final eight regular season games. Although the No. 1 seed won 1 Purdue in the three-game series, the Boilermakers have looked miserable in recent weeks and will be taking down a huge hunting pack in the deepest series in the sport.

Big Ten Tournament Schedule, pairs

Chance to win a Big Ten Tournament

Big 12 Tournament

Break down: The Big 12 features four teams projected as No. 1 seeds. 3 or better for the NCAA Tournament in Palm’s Bracketology. Seven of the league’s 10 teams are in Palm’s projected field, and Oklahoma State has the upper hand in making the field as well. This series is stacked, and the competition should be wide open. Although the No. 1 seed won 1 Kansas the entire league, the Jayhawks got smacked by Texas in the regular season finale and could face a semifinal game against the No. 1 seed. 4 Baylor after they split during the regular season. On the other side of the bracket, there could be quarterfinal play between the No. 3 Kansas State and the No. 6 TCU after they split the regular season with each team winning a lopsided game on their home floor.

Big 12 Tournament schedule, pairings

They might win the Big 12 Tournament

Pac-12 Tournament online game

Break down: It hasn’t been a great season for the PAC-12 as they are the No. 1 seed. 1 UCLA and the No. 1 seed. 2 Arizona’s only NCAA Tournament green series going into the week. But USC is the No. 1 seed. 3 to the right of the Palm bubble and No. 6 Arizona among the “First Four Out.” Outside of those four, the No. 5 Washington State is the team to watch. The Cougars have won six straight since starting 5-9 in league play and it could be dangerous. After all, it was only two years ago that Oregon State made a stunning Pac-12 Tournament title run and then advanced to the Elite Eight. This contest could determine whether two Pac-12 teams make the Big Dance or as many as four could enter

Pac-12 Tournament schedule, pairs

They might win the Pac-12 Tournament

Tournament SEC

Break down: Top-seeded Alabama outright beat the SEC, but the Crimson Tide are entering the postseason fresh off a loss at Texas A&M and are dealing with off-the-court distractions involving freshman star Brandon Miller. And the No. 1 seed. 2 hot Aggies and No. 1 seed. 3 Kentucky rounding into form, this contest could be wide open. 9 seed Mississippi State is arguably the most involved as the Bulldogs entered as one of Palm’s “Last Four in” but No. 7 seed Auburn and No. 6 seed Vanderbilt teams technically bubble as well. The Commodores face an uphill battle to major status after an injury to star center Liam Robbins but could turn some heads with a win over the No. 1 seed. 3 Kentucky in a possible quarterfinal game.

CSS Tournament Schedule, pairs

May win CSS Tournament

Who won every college basketball game, and which teams will blow your bank? Visit SportsLine now to see how to pick the under, over, and money line in every tournament game, all from the model that simulates every possession 10,000 times.

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