In the 2025 NCAA Tournament bracketology update, projections suggest a record-low number of small schools qualifying, indicating a shift favoring power conferences in college athletics.

By the Numbers
  • One team from a non-power conference (Saint Mary's) was projected to earn an at-large bid.
  • Early forecasts hint at a decrease in small schools qualifying for the 2025 tournament.
Yes, But

Power conference leaders advocate for expanding the tournament beyond 68 teams, a move met with mixed reactions.

State of Play
  • Power conferences exerting influence in spending on athletes, revenue distribution, and conference realignment.
  • SEC Commissioner's call for tournament expansion countered by losses to mid-majors in the 2024 tournament.
What's Next

West Coast Conference commissioner Stu Jackson increases influence on NCAA Tournament selection as part of the Division-I Men’s Basketball Committee.

Bottom Line

The NCAA landscape reflects a power shift towards major conferences, potentially impacting the diversity and competitiveness of future tournaments.