College basketball's conference tournament season often serves as a coronation for potential top seeds such as Wichita State, but it also has opportunities to offer the dark horses of March Madness. Less heralded programs can build valuable momentum by stringing together wins in the postseason-before-the-postseason, whether or not they need those wins just to make the field of 68.
One team that was already secure with its at-large chances entering the week was the Pittsburgh Panthers. However, when Pitt opened its ACC tourney with one of its best defensive games of the year against Wake Forest, it gained good reason to hope that February’s doldrums are in the past.
Herein is a closer look at the Panthers and seven more conference tournament success stories from teams poised to surprise in the Big Dance.