The long wait is over, and he has returned to answer your every puzzling question in these turbulent times.
No, no, it’s not Robert Mueller. Think bigger. It’s Mr. Bubble.
Unfortunately, Mr. Bubble does not have subpoena powers like Mr. Mueller, and sure, Mueller’s title is special counsel, but is the former FBI director really more special than Mr. Bubble? If he was, why didn’t he get to the bottom of these illegal payments to college basketball players from unscrupulous agents and runners? Exactly.
But we digress. Let’s go to the mailbag.
Barring Russian interference into the goings on of the NCAA selection committee, is there any reason to think there is anything afoul in their deliberations? Signed, J. Kushner.
Funny that you ask. Actually, I think their meetings are on the up and up, but until we hear what’s on the FBI wiretaps, we can’t be positive. I will, however, keep an eye on Russian-born Egor Koulechov, who’s one of the Florida Gators’ sharpshooters from the perimeter. Aren’t all spies sharpshooters?
B-man, the NCAA Tournament bracket will be unveiled in the first 15 minutes of the TBS show Sunday rather than draw out the drama throughout the two-hour program. Is that a good thing? Signed, M. Emmert.
Absolutely it is. You want drama, watch “This Is Us.” Besides, this isn’t the Oscars. We want information these days, and we want it immediately. Or sooner. Get to it. The matchups and regional slottings will be enough drama to sustain us. Or announce the entire shebang in 15 minutes. That would work.
Mr. Bubble, what do you consider the most critical data the committee should consider — RPI? Strength of schedule? Road record? Uniform colors? Signed, A Very Interested S. Smart.
To me, I consider just one factor more important than the eyeball test. And it’s how good is the team right now, this very minute.
Yeah, it’s well and good you beat this ranked team or that ranked team in Hawaii last November and you upset a Top 10 team before Christmas. But I would put the emphasis on how strong a team under consideration is playing from February to this point. Because don’t we want the best 68 teams in the country right now? I don’t dismiss non-conference records, and I like to reward teams with the guts to schedule big-name opponents. But I wouldn’t go overboard with impressive wins before New Year’s Day.
Do the Longhorns deserve to be in the field? Signed, C.D. “I’m New Here” Conte.
I think Texas is in the field as a play-in team. When I asked Smart about his team’s focus, he said, “Definitely, we cannot relax. It’s a moving target because of what happens in other leagues.”
That said, Texas doesn’t necessarily pass the eyeball test and has not played its best ball of late either.
Should health be a strong factor in a team’s worthiness? Signed, M. Bamba.
Absolutely, it should. The committee should want to place in the field the players that are going to be playing, not a potential team. Google Kenyon Martin, millenials.
Texas’ Mo Bamba, for example, said Tuesday he probably wouldn’t play against Iowa State on Wednesday night — which would be his third straight missed game if he sat out — but hopes to play again this season. Texas Tech’s engine, Keenan Evans, is another who’s hobbling with a bum toe, but he scored 23 points in the second half against defensive-challenged TCU and won’t be at full strength the rest of the season. But he is playing through it.
Interestingly enough, Bamba was discussing how much he’d learned in his first — and only — college season. When I asked how much it hurt not to play at Kansas’ storied Allen Fieldhouse, the freshman center said, “That sucked. But I’ll get a shot next year.” Mr. Bubble’s eyebrows practically leaped off his face. So, you’re entertaining the idea of returning for your sophomore season, he was asked. Bamba laughed heartily and said, “We’ll see.” Yeah, we’ll see you in the NBA in a few months.
Bubble Dude, who’s on the bubble who should be in? Signed, E. Sutton.
In my book, Oklahoma State is not getting near enough consideration. Remember, the Cowboys have been invisible almost all season, but they swept Kansas — that’s Kansas, I repeat — and have wins over West Virginia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Does it really matter that OSU played nobody in non-conference and has an 89 RPI? Not really.
I’d put OSU in and leave OU out. Hey, Kendall Smith isn’t Trae Young, but he averaged more than 24 points in the two wins over the Jayhawks. OU has gone 4-8 in its last dozen games before Wednesday. That’s tournament-worthy?
Mr. Bubbleman, do you chew Duble Bubble? T. Herman.
To be honest, I’m not really a bubble gum guy. Odd, right?
Pick another bubble team you think may be getting the shaft. Signed, R. “I Know Nothing” Pitino.
Louisville’s squarely an iffy invite. But the ninth-seeded Cardinals overcame a sea of turmoil this season but beat eighth-seeded Florida State in the ACC tournament on Wednesday for their 20th win.
Besides, Louisville should get some mercy sympathy for the agonizing way it fell to top-ranked Virginia despite holding a four-point lead in the closing half-minute.
Any chance the Big 12 could advance deep into the NCAA Tournament even though they’re still pushovers for the Jayhawks? Signed, B. Bowlsby.
Sure, it’s possible. For one thing, the best thing for the Big 12 is the fact it will play new teams. Obviously, so will everybody else, but the Big 12 has been rock solid from beginning to end. Hey, I’m lobbying for eighth-seeded OSU to get a bid.
I think Kansas’ guards give them a decent shot at the Elite Eight, but one off shooting night will kill ‘em. Can West Virginia score enough? Love Texas Tech’s grit and Evans’ supporting cast. Do not sleep on TCU. Jamie Dixon maybe should have been the Big 12’s coach of the year after losing point guard Jaylen Fisher. Oklahoma’s dead, in my mind. Texas does have a pulse.