"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Casing the Bid Thieves

Ja Morant's Murray State were bid thieves in 2019

Photo by Sam Owens | Courier & Press

Conference Tournaments begin this week, which means everyone is on the lookout for bid thieves. For bubble teams, bid thieves are their worst nightmare because it means the number of at-large teams in the field effectively shrinks. For bracketologists, bid thieves make the job much easier, especially when the bid thief is someone on the bubble, because you know for certain that team will be in the field and it's one less resume you have to critically review for inclusion..

We're going to look at the three leagues whose conference tournaments start this week and could have potential bid thieves that complicate matters for at-large teams. While the bubble teams are the easiest ones to point to, we are focusing on potential bid thieves that are not on the bubble and would really upset the apple cart if they cut down nets. The teams selected are ones that are most likely able to reach a final, because once you get there, teams like Georgetown and Oregon State showed last year that anything can happen.

WCC: Santa Clara

Gonzaga, St. Mary's, and San Francisco are all in good shape to earn at-large bids. While BYU is hoping to sneak in, the team to watch as a potential bid thief here is Santa Clara. They will be heavy favorites in their opener, having beat possible opponents San Diego, Pepperdine, and Portland all by double-digits within the past month. They also split the season series with semifinal opponent St. Mary's, so making a final is very realistic.

Ohio Valley: Morehead State

Murray State will be dancing, and while the popular pick here will be Belmont, I don't see it. Instead, Morehead is the pick. They get a first round bye and swept their potential opening opponents, Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech, by an average of 14.3 ppg. They would then face Belmont but have won three of the last four against the Bruins with the only loss coming on the road by 1 point. If they get to the Final against Murray State, they led the Racers 49-40 with about 5 minutes to play before falling apart down the stretch, so they've shown they can play with the league's best. The defending OVC champs have the goods to repeat.

Missouri Valley: Missouri State

While we have Loyola Chicago in the field as the highest ranked NET team in the Valley, I think they would be left out if they don't win Arch Madness. Since the resume metrics were added to the team sheet, no team with a resume average below 52.5 has earned at at-large bid and the Ramblers currently sit at 57 with only one win over a team projected to be in the field. But if a non-Loyola team wins the tournament and puts Loyola into that at-large mix, the one likely to do it is Missouri State. The Bears are on the easier side of the bracket as they went 8-0 against the four teams they would have to play to reach the final. They also notched a win over Loyola in the regular season, so there's no reason to think they can't do that again.

Next week, we will look at the potential bid thieves from the remaining conference tournaments. For now, we'll continue on with the S-Curve:

1-Seeds: 1-GONZAGA 2-BAYLOR 3-Kansas 4-ARIZONA

2-Seeds: 8-PURDUE 7-DUKE 6-Auburn 7-KENTUCKY

3-Seeds: 9-VILLANOVA 10-Tennessee 11-Texas Tech 12-Wisconsin

4-Seeds: 16-Connecticut 15-Providence 14-Ucla 13-Illinois

5-Seeds: 17-Arkansas 18-Alabama 19-HOUSTON 20-Texas

6-Seeds: 24-Usc 23-Ohio State 22-Lsu 21-St. Mary's

7-Seeds: 25-Michigan State 26-Seton Hall 27-Iowa State 28-Marquette

8-Seeds: 32-MURRAY STATE 31-Boise State 30-Colorado State 29-Iowa

9-Seeds: 33-SAN DIEGO STATE 34-San Francisco 35-Tcu 36-Xavier

10-Seeds: 40-Vcu 39-DAVIDSON 38-Wyoming 37-Creighton

11-Seeds: 41-Notre Dame 42-Miami 43-North Carolina 44-Michigan 45-Smu






Last Four Byes: VCU, Notre Dame, Miami, North Carolina

Last Four In: SMU, Michigan, Memphis, BYU

First Four Out: Wake Forest, St. Bonaventure, Indiana, Florida

Next Four Out: Rutgers, Oregon, Dayton, Oklahoma

Multibid Leagues

Big East: 7

Big 10: 7

Big 12: 6

SEC: 6

ACC: 4

MWC: 4

WCC: 4

American: 3

Pac-12: 3

Atlantic-10: 2

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