Reasons team won't make tourney
It must be early March. How do we know that? Because we are talking about our favorite collegiate basketball "bubble teams" such as Drexel and Xavier.
"Being on the bubble" is the most anxiety-ridden condition in sports. It means you might get into the Big Dance and you might not. But even if your hopes are crushed Sunday by the NCAA selection committee, you at least are briefly known by fans who like to pretend that they have been watching you all season.
• "I'll say this about the Drexel Dragons, they play to win the game."
• "Yeah, but don't count out the Xavier Musketeers, 'cause they have heart and hustle."
But as attractive as the Dragons and Musketeers always are in early March, they are not the subject of this week's reader-generated Top 10 list. We asked you to focus on the "burst bubble" teams that have no shot of doing the NCAA tango next week. How can we spot these unfortunates who are doomed to staying home? Here's how:
Top 10 Tips Your Team Won't Make The Big Dance
10. "Brett Favre graduated in '91 and has no eligibility left," said Ben R. of Akron, Ohio. (Because Southern Miss is a legit bubble team, we are allowing this cheap use of the Favre name to make the list.)
9. "All your players stay four or five years and graduate on time," said Terry P. of Fort Madison, Iowa.
8. "Your coach is on the phone with his travel agent, checking on the Caribbean in March," said Janice H. of Palo Alto, Calif.
7. "You've already started a bracket pool at your school -- for the NIT," said Devon M. of Wichita, Kan.
6. "Actually, you have a great shot -- oh, wait, you mean the men's team," said Randy B. of Norwich, N.Y.
5. "All of your players dream about making the Big Dance but they're thinking about 'Dancing With The Stars,'" said Beverly J. of Seattle.
4. "On Championship Saturday in your conference, the best two players on your team know they'll be there -- selling popcorn at the concession stand," said Hartley A. of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Can.
3. "Your coach wants to know why the team can't play at the level of NBA factory schools such as Harvard," said Carey S. of Palo Alto, Calif.
2. "The selection committee is a bunch of NITwits," said Scott G. of Rockford, Ill. (You see what he did there?)
1. "Syracuse was named as a No. 1 seed but will decline the invitation in order to attend a Phish concert," said Craig B. of Ansonia, Conn.
Subtle, Craig, very subtle.
And before we leave, a special salute to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, tournament champions of the Sun Belt Conference. They will be dancing despite their 15-18 regular-season record. We're all pulling for you, Toppers.
Jerry Greene is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.