CINCINNATI - As March Madness fans prepare for the Sweet 16, some are still reeling from the shocks they (and their brackets) got during week one of the Tournament.
1. Florida Gulf Coast defeats Georgetown! It's games like this that make the tournament fun and create the "March Madness" that consumes us all. FGCU was still a decade away from being created when Georgetown won its NCAA title in 1984, yet the team defeated the mighty Big East power in high-flying fashion. The Eagles literally soared with a number of jaw-dropping plays as they stole the stage Friday night and became just the 7th number 15-seed to stun a two-seed.
2. Florida Gulf Coast does it again! Why not make some history? Following their round two shocker over Georgetown, FGCU routed San Diego State to become the first 15-seed to reach the Sweet 16. Even casual fans flocked to the Internet to learn about coach Andy Enfield's pre-coaching career and smile at photos of his wife's former modeling career. Watch the fledging university get a spike in interest and applications and coach Enfield gets wooed by big schools looking for a new head coach.
3. Harvard steals the stage! The Crimson had never won an NCAA tournament game before Thursday night. Tommy Amaker has proven to be one of the better apples to fall from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's limited coaching tree and he directed a masterful upset of three-seed New Mexico, stunning a Lobos team that had dreams of a Final Four appearance.
4. La Salle's search for respect strikes gold! I look in the mirror at a guy who correctly picked 67 teams in the field but missed on just one. The La Salle Explorers are making me look like a fool--and good for them! The Explorers have gone from a bubble team on Selection Sunday to the only team to win three games last week, capped by a thriller over fellow Cinderella Ole Miss Sunday night. La Salle hadn't won back-to-back NCAA tournament games since 1955, when the field consisted of just 24 teams and they advanced to the championship game in Kansas City. A No 13-seed has never reached the Final Four, but don't tell the Explorers they can't become the first. The Atlantic 10 received five bids to the tournament; did anyone think La Salle would be the last one standing?
5. No fingernails left in the Buckeye State! I know at least one set that's been chewed down to the nub. Ohio State survived the weekend thanks to a clutch, game-winning three-pointer by Aaron Craft to down 10-seed Iowa State. The Buckeyes--my choice to win it all--now face one of the easiest roads ever to the Final Four. The 2-seeded Big Ten tournament champs can get to Atlanta without having faced a top five seed, having beaten No. 15 Iona and the Cyclones and with No. 6 Arizona next and either No. 9 Wichita State or La Salle waiting in the regional finals.
6. Dayton=Danger! No sooner than Ohio State players wiped the sweat from their brows, East top seed Indiana had to battle to the finish to topple Temple, completing an afternoon that gave local fans a bit more drama than they would have liked. The Hoosiers, viewed by some as the best team in the field, continue to march toward their first Final Four in more than a decade on their quest to end a 26-year NCAA championship drought.
7. Big Ten dominates! The premier conference during the regular season, with three-quarters of its league in contention for NCAA bids, leads the way with four teams in the Sweet 16 and has some Midwesterners dreaming of an all-Big Ten Final Four. Michigan and Michigan State are in the regional semifinal round together for the first time ever after impressive wins this weekend. But it will be for naught if one of them doesn't win it all. Since 1990, the Big Ten can claim just one NCAA championship, the worst showing among the major conferences.
8. UCLA-Minnesota farewell game! Has there ever been an NCAA tournament game in which BOTH coaches were fired within 72 hours following its conclusion? Friday night UCLA lost to Minnesota and waved goodbye to Ben Howland and his three Final Four trips while in Westwood. The Gophers then fell to Florida in what turned out to be Tubby Smith's final game as coach; he got the boot on Monday.
9. Kentucky goes from the penthouse to their own house! UK fans were still steaming at being left out of the NCAA field when the real insult came: a first round loss in the NIT... to Robert Morris? Who knew Kyle Wiltjer could hit a jump shot? It's a cold spring in the Bluegrass state, as the Wildcats fall from NCAA champs just one year earlier.
Which week one moment left you speechless? Connect with @LarrySmithWCPO on Twitter to let him know!
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