Dustin Parkes

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Florida Gulf Coast Eagles v San Diego State AztecsIt seems that March Madness need not only apply to on-court happenings. Dunk city is on the move.

Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel is reporting that a deal between USC and Andy Enfield is imminent after the university made the Florida Gulf Coast coach its top candidate for the vacant head coaching position with their men’s basketball team. Enfield would replace long-time USC assistant Bob Cantu, who was acting on an interim basis after Kevin O’Neil was fired 17 games into the 2012/2013 season.

Enfield led the Cinderella FGCU squad – the tournament darlings – to the Sweet 16 of this year’s NCAA Tournament after pulling off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history, beating Georgetown 78–68 in the first round. It was only the seventh time that a 15-seed had managed to defeat a 2-seed. Enfield then became the first head coach to lead a 15-seed to the Round of 16, when his Eagles upset San Diego State by the score of 81–71.

It’s been an especially impressive season for FGCU, considering that the school only began competing at the NCAA Division I level in 2011. 

Prior to becoming head coach of FGCU, Enfield acted as an assistant coach under Leondard Hamilton at Florida State. He also has extensive experience working with NBA players as an independent shooting consultant, and as a shooting coach with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics.

Indiana v Ohio StateFor the next three weeks, let’s forget about all that is wrong with sports, and more specifically college sports. Put on hold the complaints about the exploitation of student athletes, the arbitrary rulings of the NCAA hierarchy and the culture that promotes athletic achievement over scholastic success. Ignore the tendencies we have to celebrate young men as heroes only to spit them out later as villainous scapegoats. Instead, embrace the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for what it is: the most exciting and dramatic multi-game sporting event in the United States.

March Madness is everything that spectators want sports to be. Upsets, buzzer beaters, foul trouble, swagger and posture. The heart-beating blindness of anticipation. The vicarious elation of triumph. The devastating free fall of defeat. And these are just the qualities that we’ve come to expect. Despite being an annual event with a finite number of potential outcomes, every year the tournament brings with it a fantastic share of surprises.

It’s immense. And it all begins on Tuesday (or Thursday, depending on how you look at it). Here, for your edification, is everything you need to know about the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

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