Dave's Rant: The NCAA Tournament Bubble

March 9th, 2009
So I flick on ESPN to find some info about teams "on the bubble" for making the NCAA Tourney. What do I learn? That the Detroit Lions should take a safety in Round 3.

If you don't know what "on the bubble" means then you are the exact type of person I want to compete against in my NCAA pool.

"On the bubble" can be best explained as follows: Imagine you are standing in line at a trendy nightclub that only lets the most attractive people enter. The bouncer checks you out and doesn't tell you to get lost, but doesn't immediately let you and your other marginally good-looking friends in. You are on the proverbial bubble. But when a limo filled with professional athletes and super-models pulls up - your bubble has burst.

Personally, I think that "on the bubble" is too wimpy and wussy to describe the dire predicament that these teams face. I, therefore, advocate a change from "on the bubble" to something that better conveys the very slight chance of survival and the very strong possibility of demise. Such as:

*In the percolating volcano.

*On the engineless airplane.

*Driving the Pinto.

*Engaged to be married.

*Fighting Mike Tyson.

*In Detroit.

*Eating my wife's lasagna.

I must admit that "On the bubble" came in handy back when I was dating. (Oh the good old days.) About a month into each relationship I would be asked the same stupid question: "Where do I stand with you?" My response: "On the bubble." Every time I got the same reply: "What does that mean?" But one woman actually retorted: "Well, I'll just have to win my conference tournament." A few months later I asked her a stupid question: "Will you marry me?"

I was actually "on the bubble" once. No, not for the NCAA Tournament. I didn't play Div I Basketball. I played JV CYO basketball. Well, I almost didn't. Yes, I was on the bubble for making my JV CYO team.

It was the end of the last day of tryouts and coach sat us all down. He said he can only keep 10 and since there were 11, one had to go. He then announced that it had come down to me and Stevie - a kid who had a severe case of glaucoma.

I truly thought I had a few advantages over Stevie. Like, for one, my ability to see. There was also the fact that I knew the coach quite well. Not really by choice. He was my dad.

Vision and nepotism apparently weren't going to be enough. Dad tells Stevie and me we're playing one-on-one. Winner makes the team. As a hoop player I had one talent - throwing picks. Turns out, that is not an effective move in one-on one. Lucky for me Stevie was legally blind. I perpetually duped him into throwing the ball to me by holding my arms out like a hoop.

After 5 minutes of action, the score was tied: 0-0. Trying to discern who was better had to be like trying to differentiate between the talents of Milli Vanilli and the Jonas Brothers.

My dad then blew his whistle signifying our immediate return to the bench. Stevie got there first and I noticed there was no room for me. My face dropped. I thought, "Oh my God. Has my basketball career just ended due to an impromptu game of musical chairs?"
My dad then got up to grab the bouncing ball. I deftly dove into his spot.

Dad threw his clip board to the floor and said "Ah sh!t. God damn it all." Yeah, my dad would seem to forget that the C in CYO stood for Catholic. And that Father Malone was standing next to him.

There was a pause as my Dad looked at Stevie. Then me. Then Stevie. Then me. "Screw it. I'll keep you both." Stevie and I then hugged with joy. Well, once Stevie could find me.

Other kids remember words of wisdom from their dads. I will always have, "Screw it. I'll keep you both." Words that took me right off the bubble - and right on to the bench.

But there are a number of teams currently "on the bubble" who aren't going be as fortunate as I. Below I give you my breakdown of some of those teams and who is going to be in & out of the Tourney.

If the Gophers get in the Tourney the announcers will continually mention that Coach Tubby Smith is one of 17 kids in his family. That will lead to my wife saying, "If his parents could have 17 children, we can easily handle a third."
Decision: Definitely Out!

Penn State
There is a chance that Joe Paterno may show up for some of the games if they make the Tourney. That means there is a chance that on national television he may, once again, poop himself.
Decision: In

I like PC. Even like their nickname. It's just spelled wrong. They need to change it from Friars to Fryers. Then they can change their mascot from a docile monk to a frightened turkey.
Decision: In

Boston College
If the Eagles get in I will be quite happy. Then when they lose in the first round I will be quite sad.
Decision: Doesn't matter.

Come on now, say it with me. Just two words: Ashley Judd.
Decision: In

Notre Dame
Come on now, say it with me. Just two words: Digger Phelps.
Decision: Out

Now, all this contemplation about being "on the bubble" has led me to a somewhat unique thought: How about a breakdown of bubbles? I, therefore, give you in match-up format:

Barend's Bubble Bubble Breakdown:

Boy In The Bubble vs. Strippers Named Bubbles
Let's see, we have John Travolta in a vat of plastic or dancing naked women. Hmmm.
Decision: Strippers are in. (Strippers are always in.)

Bubble Wrap vs. Mr. Bubble
Everyone loves bubble wrap. Not me. Why? Each Christmas I spend a wad of dough on gifts for my girls. And what do they play with? The damn bubble wrap.
Decision: Bubble wrap is out.

"Tiny Bubbles" vs. "B Is For Bubble"
You might think you've never heard "B is for Bubbles", but you have - on Sesame Street. "B is for bubbles. Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles . . ." Remember it now? Yeah you do. Good luck getting it out of your head.
Decision: Don Ho's classic "Tiny Bubbles" is in.

William Shakespeare vs. Rodney Dangerfield
There's the famous Macbeth line of "Double double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble." And then you have Rodney in "Back To School" with a hut tub full of babes saying, "What's a bath without bubbles? Come here Bubbles."
Decision: Shakespeare just can't compete with the Classics. Rodney's in.

There you have it - the first ever Bubble Bubble Breakdown, just for you. As for me, well, my wife's serving lasagna tonight. Guess I'm back on the bubble.

Take it easy,