NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Preview

Given what Florida Gulf Coast has done, a list of 16 notable items heading into the Sweet 16 wouldn’t leave much room for other schools. That’s why I dedicated an entire article to the Eagles, which will post tomorrow. Even so, I couldn’t help but include a few FGCU items in this story.

1. Dunk City

Here is every dunk Florida Gulf Coast has had so far in the NCAA Tournament [Update: The video has been removed, but I’m sure you can find a similar video.]:


While the dunks are great, so are Kevin Harlan’s calls. Here’s a sampling:

“Ohhh, Fieler, up high and down hard!”

“Ohhh, Murray cracks the sledgehammer!”

“Up and down, whoooa! He drops the anvil!”

“Ohhhh! Winding up and smacking it down! McKnight climbing the ladder!”

For some reason Harlan’s team has been assigned the Thursday games for the Sweet 16. Marv Albert, don’t mess this up.

2. Vega$

I was in Las Vegas with my brothers and friends to watch all 48 games last weekend. We did a group bet each day, and on Friday we each put $10 on the Florida Gulf Coast money-line.

3. Commercials

I loved the new commercials with the marketing guy and the kids in the classroom (“What about the animals? What would they be made out of?”). I hated the couple on the blind date drinking Bud Light, and hate myself for memorizing their entire conversation.

4. No more drama

The last NCAA Tournament game that went to overtime was the 2011 Southeast Regional final between Florida and Butler. The most recent buzzer beater occurred in the first round of that Tournament. This is partly because of how quickly they stop the clock these days, but even if we call Aaron Craft’s game-winning three on Sunday a buzzer beater, there was still a lack of drama in the opening weekend.

5. Sweet ’n low (stress)

Speaking of large margins of victory, several teams enter the Sweet 16 not yet tested in the Big Dance. Here are the schools that inarguably dominated their first two opponents: Louisville, Oregon, Michigan State, Duke, Arizona, and Michigan.

6 Drama kings

La Salle and Marquette, on the other hand, have survived two nail biters already, with their four wins all coming within two points. Each year since the “First Four” was introduced in 2011, a team has advanced from the opening round to the Sweet 16.

7. Iona

The FGCU upset lifted my mood after another 15 seed, Iona, was trounced by Ohio State. But I still enjoyed flipping the common O-H-I-O chant (yelling I-O-N-A instead) in front of a bunch of Buckeye fans who were definitely nervous through the first media timeout.

8. Some coaches are not built for March Madness

I’m looking at you, Mike Brey and Steve Alford. Remind me to never pick their teams in my bracket again.

9. Does Rachel Nichols’ zipper have a Twitter account yet?

It is simply a question and does not reflect the views of Andrew J. Kahn or andrewjkahn.com.

10. The flagrant foul graphic

My friends and I started a drinking game off of this. I think it was shown about 2.5 times per game. I’ve been saying all season that if the refs don’t even call it a foul it probably doesn’t warrant a technical—and if it does, they should review it during a media timeout. I still don’t understand what an offensive player is supposed to do when the defender sticks his chin into the ball hander’s chest.

11. Block or charge?

The no-charge circle has reduced some of the horrible defender-under-the-basket charges, but there are still plenty where the offensive player has already left his feet by the time the defender slides in. If the refs called more blocking fouls, we’d see fewer guys trying to take charges, more blocked shots, and more points—in other words, college basketball would be more entertaining.

12. Conference grades

As I noted in my CBS Local column, the Big Ten and Pac 12 have impressed so far. The Mountain West, meanwhile, gets a D: New Mexico lost to Harvard, joining UNLV and Boise as teams that didn’t win a game. Colorado State was not competitive against Louisville and San Diego State was run out of the gym by a 15 seed. It’s too early to grade the ACC or Big East since their best teams still have to prove themselves, while we knew all along that the SEC and Big 12 would rely on Florida and Kansas, respectively. The Atlantic Sun has performed exceptionally well.

13. Lame duck game

The first-round game between UCLA and Minnesota turned out to be the last game Ben Howland would coach for the Bruins and the last win for Tubby Smith at Minnesota. Both were fired following their Tournament exits.

14. Intact brackets

There are four entries in the ESPN.com bracket contest that correctly picked 15 of the Sweet 16 (two of which included FGCU). Not surprisingly, these entries are named after the participant’s username with a number at the end (e.g. “username 2”), indicating these contestants filled out multiple brackets. Even so, I’d need more than the limit of 10 entries before I had any combination that led to 15 of this year’s Sweet 16.

15. We are all idiots

Anyone who went to college in the Midwest, as I did, is a fool. This is the view from a Florida Gulf Coast University dorm:

This was the view from my dorm room at Michigan:

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