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Tuesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Four autobids up for grabs

Mar 11, 2014, 2:34 PM EDT

Tyler Haws, Kevin Pangos

GAME OF THE NIGHT: BYU vs. Gonzaga, 9:00 p.m.

In a vacuum, this is the kind of game that any basketball fan that enjoys high-scoring, uptempo games will want to tune into. Both BYU and Gonzaga can put up points, and neither of them are particularly fond of playing any defense. But there’s so much more on the line tonight, as both the Zags and the Cougars will be looking to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. That matters because neither team is in a position where they can assume that they’re a lock for an at-large bid at this point.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: IPFW vs. North Dakota State, 9:00 p.m.

I’ve been asked a number of times about mid-major programs capable of making a run in the Big Dance, and every time, I drop the name North Dakota State in there. The Bison are led by Marshall Bjorklund and Taylor Braun, two of the nation’s best kept mid-major secrets. They could end up being a 12 or 13 seed if they can get past IPFW.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

There are two other automatic bids up for grabs tonight:

  • 1) Robert Morris takes on Mount St. Mary’s in the NEC title game.
  • 2) Milwaukee snuck into the Horizon title game after knocking off Green Bay. They’ll play Wright State.

Three other conference tournaments will take place tonight:

  • 3) The SWAC first round
  • 4) The MEAC first round
  • 5) Conference USA first round