2013 #MarchMadness: FGCU and Other Weekend Bracket Busters
I didn't pick 'em but I love watching the underdogs win. March Madness continues as the weekend's games featured lots of bracket busters starting with 13th seeded Harvard defeating #3 seed New Mexico for their first tournmant win since 1946 (only to be later demolished by Arizona) and the best Cinderella story so far - FGCU as the first 15 seed in the Sweet 16 in tournament history.
In fact FGCU's Georgetown upset was probably the highlight of the second full day of March Madness (unless you're a Hoya fan). The shocking upset destroyed many of the brackets that survived Harvard's upset win on Thursday. I'll be the first to admit I didn't know there was a school called Florida Gulf Coast University, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. But after the Eagles managed to pull off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history, I'm sure nobody’s going to forget about them.
FGCU Upsets Georgetown © Steven M. Falk/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com
Despite being in their first tournament game, FGCU, who entered the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament via an automatic bid after winning the Atlantic Sun conference tournament, were ahead of the much more experienced Georgetown by as many as 19 points during their Friday afternoon match. They crashed the Dance big time.
ESPN sports business writer Darren Rovell @darrenrovell pointed out in a tweet that Georgetown coach John Thompson III makes about 13 times more than FGCU coach Andy Enfield ($150,000). Rovell also tweeted that the Florida Gulf Coast basketball program made only $61,320 last year. Clearly a great deal of disparity between this Cinderella team and the other program favorites.
Gonzaga, however, won't be among the teams moving on. A 32-win team on a 15-game win streak, didn’t survive the first weekend.
Less a dramatic upset and more of a letdown, #7 Notre Dame's 76-58 loss to #10 Iowa State was a humbling defeat for the Fighting Irish.
In my neighborhood, #6 UCLA vs #11 Minnesota was expected to be one of the best matches of the day, but it turned out to up be a snoozer as Minnesota won 83-63 and the Bruin's coach Ben Howland was summarily fired after the game.
On the women's side (and frankly I think we see better basketball here) there was a lot of excitement as well.
Four schools -- Baylor, Notre Dame, UConn and Cal-- make the Final Four in President Obama's bracket and the POTUS predicts that fans will see a rematch of last year's championship game between Baylor and Notre Dame, with Baylor winning it's second consecutive national championship.
In the upset department, the following match-ups busted more than a few brackets over the weekend but there were also some big wins from big teams and a super blowout by the UConn women.
Maryland 72, Quinnipiac 52
Tennessee 83, Oral Roberts 62
UCLA 66, Stetson 49
Cal 90, Fresno State 76
Texas A&M;71, Wichita State 45
South Carolina 74, South Dakota State 52
Iowa State 72, Gonzaga 60
Nebraska 73, Chattanooga 59
Georgia 70, Montana 50
Connecticut 105, Idaho 37
With the fields on both the men's and women's sides now cut in half, the tournament will be more about the familiar faces. After the madness of the first two big days of the Big Dance, there's something reassuring about the fact that some of our favorites are still in the game.
Still, anything can happen and this year’s tournaments remain wide open. How are your brackets looking?