This is the time of year that the run of the mill teams are sweating. Just dripping through their jerseys. Wondering what if they had beaten that conference foe, would they be off the dreaded NCAA bubble? What if the ref wasn't obviously biased towards the team that was making contact?
What if the NCAA Selection committee doesn't realize that the freshmen on the team are coming on strong, and all they need is another chance to prove they are giant killers?
What if the NCAA Selection Committee downgrades that win you thought was so big until said opponent fell off the rails and lost to a team of tall middle schoolers?
Or doesn't realize that University of Big Conference but Low Talent/ Podunk State named not after a state but after a City or a person such as "Wright" or "Truman,"/ Mid-Major Directional Arts and Tech is a tough matchup for your team?
Or doesn't realize how important [insert guard who was injured for much of conference season] was to your team that has 11-12 other people on it?
Or doesn't realize what a great story of gravel-tasting grit and perseverance your team has been?
Or doesn't realize that your team has sprinkled magical pixie dust all over themselves in the pixie dust spa, learned to play unstoppable basketball after their last mediocre loss in their conference tournament, and DESERVES a spot in the NCAAs?
Or how your long and storied tradition finds it simply foot-stompingly unacceptable to be left out of an invitational tournament?
Well, for Baylor, Missouri, Maryland, Ole Miss, and all the rest, here's some news for you - you weren't gonna do nothing anything, anyway. So stop complaining, whining, and cajoling your way into that field and all that money for your program. You selfish, undeserving schools.
Over the last five seasons, only nine teams seeded No. 9 through No. 12 -- your typical seeding for a major-conference bubble team -- made it to the Sweet 16, and last season no team seeded lower then seventh made it.
Take a closer look and you'll see that the ones in that seeding range that manage to win a couple of games are usually so-called mid-majors, or at least not from the power conferences -- teams such as Butler in 2003, Alabama Birmingham and Nevada in 2004, Wisconsin Milwaukee in 2005, and Bradley and the famous George Mason team that made it to the Final Four in 2006.
So track teams such as Kentucky, Maryland, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Ohio State and even two-time defending champion Florida if you'd like, but they probably aren't going to make it out of the first weekend even if they do make the field.
Wear that "L" with pride, bubble. Oh hell, if St. John's sniffs the NCAAs next year, I'll probably be calling for expanding the field of 65, like Jim Boeheim wants to, myself.
But think about it. A four team, major conference play in game-- four absolute lame ducks-- who will be slotted in as a 11 or 12 or 13 seed-- would be a better choice. That's usually where your limp d*cked major conference team (see: last year's Arkansas, this year: Ohio State, Baylor, Kentucky, Oregon) ends up and gets worked over by a mid-major or some other team with a pulse.
Imagine adding the last four out, like Villanova, Syracuse, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Florida, and the like playing nationally televised matchups against those other teams. Viewers would watch, hoping their team could get into the big dance.
TV ratings on play-in night would be better.
The NCAA would make money and the schools would make money.
The low-majors wouldn't have to win their conference tourney only to suffer the indignity of beating up a fellow low-major to get run off the court by Duke, UCLA, or Memphis. Those kids could say "I went to the tournament!"
Isn't that a win all around?
Note: the dog in the photo above just looks like my dog. It is not.