It 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.
Motivated by a fallen teammate the Louisville Cardinals dominated the second half of the Midwest regional final en route to a 85-63 win over Duke.
Shortly before then end of the first half back-up Louisville point guard Kevin Ware sustained one of the most visibly gruesome injuries in the history of televised sports, suffering a compound fracture of his right leg. An emotional Rick Pitino attempted to gather the composure of his players with a huddle, but the impact from the injury left a noticeable silence in the arena.
The shaken Cardinals took a 3 point lead into the half but came out of the break fired up, going on a 20-4 tear led by Gorugi Dieng, Peyton Siva, and Russ Smith, as the Cardinals scored 50 points on 59.3 % shooting in the 2nd half. Smith led all scorers with 23 points, while Diva added 10 of his 16 in the second half, along with 14 points and 11 rebounds for Dieng. Mason Plumlee added 17-points and 12 boards in the losing cause for Duke.
For coach Pitino the win marks revenge from the last time one of his teams played Duke, the famous 1992 Elite 8 game where Christian Laettner sunk his Kentucky Wildcats in dramatic fashion.
The No. 1 overall seed in the tournament advances to their second straight Final Four, where they will face Wichita State in Saturday’s National Semifinal in Atlanta.
After sealing the win, the Cardinals celebrated with Ware’s 5 jersey, and opted not to cut down the mesh.
All-Name Team sweethearts Wichita State provided us with the first early exit for a #1 seed this year, knocking off Gonzaga 76-70.
The Bulldogs and their 15-game winning streak were done in by a couple of poor shooting performances from Kelly Olynyk (8-22) and Kevin Pangos (6-17), and shot under 35% (8-23) as a team from long range. The Shockers lived up to their name through 50% (14-28) shooting from the 3-point line that included seven-straight makes down the stretch and a balanced scoring attack led by 16 points a piece from Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker. Wichita State shot 50% of the field as a team and managed to hold Gonzaga to just 35% shooting.
The Shockers advance to the round of 16 for the first time since 2006, and will face the winner of Sunday’s matchup between La Salle and Ole Miss.
For 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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Image via blog.oregonlive.com
The NCAA has decided to take its celebration of the 75th anniversary of March Madness interactive, allowing fans to take a trip down memory lane.
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What do you know, it’s March again. For many that means spring time and the sweet release from winter. For most people it means the Madness is coming!
We’re only 13 days away from Selection Sunday and 15 days from the play-in games. So basically two weeks until everyone submits their bracket into their office pool and gives away free money to the people who actually watched college basketball this season. But this year could finally be the year for the guy in your office who picks teams based on the colors of their jerseys. This year this isn’t that far away from describing me. Got a good feeling about blue this year. Fingers crossed!
More than a dozen teams have a legit shot at winning it this year because there are no dominant teams. That means there could be more buzzer beaters, more upsets, and more moments that you wish Gus Johnson still worked for CBS than ever.
Joseph Casciaro will be your editor and we’ll have a host of other contributors along the way. We’ll have a bunch of stuff for you before the tournament and you can expect even more when the action finally gets going. Hope you come along with us and hope you enjoy the ride!