The first weekend of the 2013 NCAA tournament came to a close on Sunday night with history coming throughout the day. We now know what the Sweet 16 will look like, and what a Sweet 16 it will be.
The Greatest 15 Seed of All Time
That’s right, your Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast, are the prettiest Cinderella in the history of the NCAA tournament. FGCU didn’t just slide into the Sweet 16. The Eagles took down one of the most storied programs in college basketball on Friday and followed it up with a romp of the last standing Mountain West Conference team. Yes, for all the talk of the teams at the top of the MWC this year, they couldn’t last as long as teams from the Missouri Valley Conference (Wichita State) or the Atlantic Sun (FGCU).
No longer will people be able to point to Richmond’s upset of Syracuse, the first 15 seed to ever advance past the first round, as the biggest Cinderella. When you look at this FGCU squad, you see a team with swagger. A team who thinks it belongs and would be surprised to hear that almost no one in the country put them through to the Sweet 16. Even fewer will have the Eagles in the Final Four. But don’t tell them that. Florida is suddenly vulnerable, playing a team in the Sweet 16 that will have oodles of fan support in the arena and a massive amount of momentum.
College Basketball’s Best Programs Advance
Yes, we are missing a few of those schools that would appear on anyone’s list of the top schools in college basketball throughout the years. UCLA left on Friday, unable to compete without Jordan Adams. North Carolina flamed out in the second half to a strong Kansas team earlier today. And, of course, Kentucky missed the Big Dance altogether. But other than those three schools, look at who we have. Duke. Indiana. Kansas. Michigan State. Michigan. Arizona. Ohio State. Florida. Syracuse. Louisville. This is hoops royalty.
We may never have had a Sweet 16 that is so filled with huge names. That probably makes Florida Gulf Coast and La Salle’s crashing of the party even that much more impressive. But we’re about to see 8 terrific games with tons of amazing coaches and a lot of tournament history. Get your flashback montages ready.
Here is a list of Sunday’s top performers:
- Ramon Galloway (La Salle), 24 pts, 4 boards, 3 assists, 6/10 3P
- Brett Comer (FGCU), 10 pts, 14 assists, 3 turnovers
- Bernard Thompson (FGCU), 23 pts, 4 boards, 5 steals
- Jeff Withey (Kansas), 16 pts, 16 boards, 5 blocks
- Mike Rosario (Florida), 25 pts, 6/9 3P
- Kalif Wyatt (Temple), 31 pts
Sweet 16 Look Ahead
- #3 Marquette vs. #2 Miami, Washington DC, 4:15 pm
- #4 Syracuse vs. #1 Indiana, Washington DC, 30 minutes after Game 1
- #6 Arizona vs. #2 Ohio State, Los Angeles, 4:47 pm
- #13 La Salle vs. #9 Wichita State, Los Angeles, 30 minutes after Game 1
- #12 Oregon vs. #1 Louisville, Indianapolis, 4:15 pm
- #3 Michigan State vs. #2 Duke, Indianapolis, 30 minutes after Game 1
- #4 Michigan vs. #1 Kansas, North Texas, 4:37 pm
- #15 Florida Gulf Coast vs. #2 Florida, North Texas, 30 minutes after Game 1
FGCU/Florida is definitely the most intriguing matchup, but it unfortunately is airing opposite Michigan State and Duke, which may be the next most interesting game of the Sweet 16.
If I could redo my bracket? Miami, Indiana, Arizona, Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan State, Michigan, and Florida would make up my Elite 8.