Five Potential Bid-Stealers for Mississippi State Basketball Fans to Know

With Mississippi State basketball on the NCAA Tournament bubble entering Champ Week, here are five potential bid-stealers Bulldog fans should be weary of.

Mar 5, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; UNLV Rebels forward Karl Jones (22) celebrates the win over San
Mar 5, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; UNLV Rebels forward Karl Jones (22) celebrates the win over San / Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
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2024 Champ Week is here! With one week until Selection Sunday, conference tournaments are underway across the country. By the end of the week, 32 automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament will be awarded.

Mississippi State basketball will begin SEC Tournament action on Thursday when they take on the LSU Tigers. It's a must-win game for a MSU team that finds itself near the NCAA Tournament cutline entering the postseason.

With Mississippi State on the tournament bubble, they have to be weary of potential bid-stealers winning conference tournaments.

What is a bid-stealer in college basketball?

A bid-stealer is a team that wins the conference tournament from a "multi-bid league" that otherwise would not have gotten an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. 68 teams are selected to the NCAA Tournament each year. 32 spots are reserved for the conference tournament champions of each D1 conference. The remaining 36 spots are for at-large selections, the teams who built strong enough resumes throughout the regular season to warrant tournament selection without winning a conference tournament.

Of the 32 D1 conferences, the vast majority are what we call "one-bid leagues." These are conferences that don't have any teams with strong enough resumes to earn an at-large bid. The only teams from these conferences that will go dancing are those who win the conference tournaments.

Only a select few conferences are what we consider "multi-bid leagues." Those are conferences with multiple teams worthy of at-large selection. These are your Power 6 leagues - SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Pac-12, and Big East - and select mid-major leagues such as the Mountain West.

Occasionally, a traditional one-bid league will have a team good enough to earn an at-large bid. And when that happens, there's an increased chance at a "bid-stealer." If that at-large worthy team loses in their conference tournament, they can still reach March Madness alongside the conference tournament champion.

This is especially precarious for bubble teams, because every bid-stealer takes away one of the final at-large spots available in the field. More bid-stealers = fewer bubble teams making the tournament.

It's worth noting that bid-stealers can come from traditional multi-bid leagues as well. While we tend to associate them with one-bid leagues, we see it in the Power 6 also. In fact, in 2009 Mississippi State basketball was a bid-stealer. That State team would not have gotten in without their impressive run in the SEC Tournament, and they knocked at least one bubble team out of the Big Dance.

What's a recent example of a college basketball bid-stealer?

A good example of a recent bid-stealer in college basketball is the 2022 Richmond Spiders basketball team. In 2022, the Atlantic 10 conference, despite having a handful of legitimately solid teams, only had one team with an at-large worthy resume, that being Davidson. Or, they technically had one, but it could've been two as we'll address in a moment.

Richmond went on an improbable run in the A-10 tournament, beating each of the league's top-3 teams, including an upset over Davidson in the championship game. Richmond earned the A-10's automatic bid while Davidson earned an at-large bid.

Who missed out an at-large bid because of Richmond? Ironically it was A-10 rival Dayton. The Flyers were the first team out of the field, and had the Spiders not stolen a bid, Dayton would've gone dancing. But Richmond certainly showed they deserved it. They literally beat Dayton along the way to their conference championship and upset 5-seed Iowa in the NCAA Tournament.

Will there be any bid-stealers in college basketball this year?

There's always a chance for bid-stealers to emerge during Champ Week, and this season there are some very strong candidates that fans of Mississippi State basketball and other bubble teams need to look out for. In fact, we might already have one...

Here are five potential bid-stealers for Mississippi State basketball fans to know: