There is living in a bubble – a condition I am increasingly in favor of with every election cycle, every commercial for “Chrisley Knows Best,” every time my fillings are knocked loose by a neighboring car with its speakers set on stun. Then pile on all the other assorted contemporary noise that assaults us.
Find me a bubble in which to escape – at full salary – and I happily will climb in and curl up.
Then there is living on the bubble. This is an uncomfortable state of standing astride a thin film of possibility. It’s always precarious. It’s always a balancing act, between hope and elimination. And more often than not, the bubble always seems to go, “Pop!” leaving you sprawled and sore.
This is a familiar condition if you are a fan of, well, just about any sport, college or pro, currently played within a 75 mile radius of Philips Arena.
In particular now there are the men’s basketball programs at Georgia and Georgia Tech.
Both are entering their conference tournaments having teased their constituency with some fine work lately. Tech has won five of its last six. Georgia is on a three-game SEC win streak. The only problem being all the dreary basketball that preceded this sunny trend.
So, taken together, the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets are a combined 18-18 within their conferences, the very selfie of mediocrity. Tech’s RPI – however that magical number is derived – is 70. Georgia’s 72. Yes, right on the cliff’s edge where borderline teams argue for a spot in the NCAA tournament’s field of 68.
Both Georgia and Tech are capable of making much-needed runs in their conference tournaments to shore up their big tournament arguments. I am a big believer in the power of seniors at this time of year, and older, experienced leadership is the single blessing these teams have to count upon.
Or they may crap out in the first game. Neither scenario would be a total shock. And that is the very definition of life on the bubble.
Whether or not either/both/neither slide into the NCAAs – and my thought is that Tech has a better chance of getting in than Georgia (yes, despite that 14-point loss to the Dogs in December, another lifetime ago) – at least here it is March and we at least get to wonder for another few days.
Even getting to the bubble, playing better at the end than the beginning, is a victory of sorts. Enough, in particular, to save Brian Gregory’s job at Tech? I think so, but no one really consults me.
Fans of these programs deserve better than the uncertain condition that faces them today. But they are used to it, having so much experience surfing the delicate surface of the bubble.