Look for some new faces in the field of 68 when it is announced on March 12.
Of the 32 conferences who receive automatic bids currently just nine are in first place at this point in the regular season. There are six more with a shot to win the regular season championship, which means unless there’s a bunch of upsets in conference tournament play there could be as many as 17 teams in this year that was not in last year.
A couple of last year’s champions have dropped badly, with St. Joseph’s of the Atlantic 10 leading the way, it is currently tied for last with a 3-11 conference record.
The biggest constant is Kansas. With one more win Bill Self will have led the Jayhawks to 13 consecutive championships either shared or outright. The Jayhawks are currently ranked No. 3 in the country by the Associated Press.