March Madness 2024: 5 bid thieves capable of stealing an NCAA Tournament spot

Bubble teams desperately want to avoid seeing bid thieves ruin their chances of claiming an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. These five teams could burst someone's bubble on Selection Sunday.

NC State v Pittsburgh
NC State v Pittsburgh / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages
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Champ Week is here and there is little time left for teams on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament to make their case to reach March Madness. Whether it is a questionable NET ranking or a couple of bad losses, bubble teams find themselves near the cut line for a reason and are usually at the whims of the Selection Committee prior to Selection Sunday.

The worst nightmare for a bubble team is a bid thief, a parlance that occurs when a team that isn't projected to make the field of 68 claims an automatic bid by winning their conference tournament. That phenomenon results in shrinking the at-large pool by one as a presumed lock claims that spot, taking the bid from a bubble team in the process.

With all of the upsets in college basketball this season, it won't be shocking if a few bid thieves emerge over the next week (we may already have one depending on how the committee views Indiana State, which entered the day ranked 29th in the NET after falling to Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament's final on Sunday). Here are the top five candidates to steal a bid ahead of Selection Sunday.

Top Potential Bid Thieves Ahead Of March Madness

South Florida Bulls

A rough start to the season put the Bulls in a deep hole as South Florida lost non-conference games to Central Michigan, Maine, Hofstra and UMass, with the first two coming at home. South Florida went on a 23-1 heater after that point to jump into the polls and secure the American's regular season crown, but a defeat at Tulsa over the weekend leaves the Bulls with a NET ranking of 78, just one Quad 1 win and three losses to the bottom two quadrants.

This team has been hot for a while, however, and beat Florida Atlantic by four points in mid-February for their top win of the season. The Owls are the only lock to get a bid coming out of the American, so if they get tripped up by South Florida again a two-bid American will cost someone a spot in the field.