Best of Friday at the NCAA tourney
After an action-packed Day 1 of the NCAA tournament, Day 2 was possibly even more fun, with Florida Gulf Coast stunning second-seeded Georgetown, fourth-seeded Kansas State and fifth-seeded Wisconsin falling and No. 1-seed Kansas escaping a historic upset bid. Here are some of our favorite highlights from the day:
Florida Gulf Coast had as much a chance at beating Georgetown as its coach did of marrying a supermodel.
Well, FGCU head coach Andy Enfield’s wife is Amanda Marcum, a Maxim cover girl, and the 15th-seeded Eagles added a stunning chapter to NCAA tournament history, disposing of second-seeded Georgetown 78-68 in a second-round game Friday in Philadelphia.
How stunning? Well, this is Marcum — and FGCU is in just its second year of Division I eligibility, while Georgetown has made five trips to the Final Four.
Before the game, Marcum was the toast of Twitter. As the contest progressed, the attention shifted — slightly — to the Eagles, who came into the game largely unknown despite a 24-10 record that included a victory over Miami, which is a No. 2 seed in the tournament.
Afterward, FGCU's Enfield certainly had reporters laughing with statements such as "I've got some crazy dudes on my team!" among other gems in a thoroughly entertaining postgame news conference. (WATCH VIDEO)
This may not have been as painful for Georgetown as the upset loss to Villanova in the 1985 national championship, but John Thompson III can commiserate with his father, John, about being on the short end of tournament shockers. The Hoyas have been knocked out of the tournament five times in a row by double-digit seeds.
The Eagles didn’t run out to a big lead and stave off a Hoyas rush. They actually scored 54 points in the second half, which was more than the Hoyas allowed 15 opponents this season (in the entire game). And they did it with style — check out Chase Fieler’s second-half throwdown:
So, who are these Eagles, who became the seventh 15 seed to bounce a 2?
FGCU is located in Fort Myers. And off this look, it shouldn’t be the hardest place in the world to recruit. Check out the view from Fieler’s dorm (seriously).
The pressure of an NCAA tournament clearly puts pressure on the head coaches, but it also takes a toll on their supermodel spouses (and kids):
Among Georgetown alums are President Bill Clinton, and 10 other heads of state from countries around the world. FGCU boasts three MLB players and Courtney Jolly.
Twitter turned into Comedy Central as it erupted after the upset. A couple of the best are below, including one from a certain "Hoosiers" coach (wink, wink):
One from a wrestling legend:
The Georgetown embarass the legend bubba— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) March 23, 2013
And one from FOX Sports Florida writer Chris Tomasson:
LeBron James is really on a roll these days. He said he picked in his bracket Florida Gulf Coast to beat Georgetown.— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) March 23, 2013
Florida Gulf Coast, meanwhile, not only can boast of taking down a giant. It can wear another label for at least two days: the only undefeated team in NCAA tournament history.
CONFERENCE UPS ... AND CONFERENCE DOWNS
The conference with the best record in this year’s NCAA tournament begins with a familiar word: Atlantic. That, however, is where the predictability ends.
Heading into weekend play, the conference that boasts the best mark — 6-0 — is the Atlantic 10, not the traditionally powerful ACC.
Perhaps the biggest surprise from the A-10 is La Salle, which had to survive a play-in game to reach the round of 64. After disposing of Boise State, the Explorers staved off Kansas State to play another day. Sunday’s task will be to dispose of the Mouth of the South, Marshall Henderson, and Ole Miss.
Also thriving is the Big Ten, which boasts a 6-1 mark, the lone blemish a loss by Wisconsin to Henderson and the Rebels. Widely regarded as this season’s power conference, the Big Ten continues to flex; the smallest margin of victory for the Big Ten was an eight-point win by seventh-seeded Illinois over No. 10 Colorado from the Pac-12.
The Pac-12 has advanced three schools to the round of 32. UCLA, however, joined Colorado in seeing its season end by taking a big 10 count from Minnesota, 83-63, in what could mark the end of the Ben Howland era.
The Big East as it has been known is heading in different directions after this season. It placed eight schools in the dance and has tripped over itself, going 3-5.
The Mountain West and Big 12 each received a handful of invitations, each going 2-3 in what have to be regarded as disappointing showings.
The only conference with multiple teams in the tournament not to pick up a victory was the Sun Belt, which went 0-2.
HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE MARSHALL HENDERSON?
Despite an ice-cold 6-for-21 performance vs. Wisconsin, Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson was still the top scorer in the Rebels' 57-46 win. And, of course, he found time for a few chest bumps.
We can't get enough of the many faces of Marshall, and neither can LeBron James. The King offered his kudos for Marshall's free-wheeling play:
Man that dude Henderson from Ol Miss got the greenest light in basketball history!! Hahaha.— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 22, 2013
And Marshall ate it right up:
I SUCK AND GET A LEBRON TWEET!!! HAHAHAHA I DONT WANNA HEAR NOBODY SAY NOTHIN, IVE MADE IT!!!— marshall henderson (@NativeFlash22) March 22, 2013
OH THE MADNESS!
After another slow start to the day, the action heated up big time in the afternoon. Creighton and Cincinnati played a hard-fought game from start to finish, with the Bluejays holding on for a 67-63 win.
Almost simultaneously, La Salle was doing its best to hold off a furious comeback from Kansas State. The Explorers blew an 18-point halftime lead before surviving, 63-61.
LITTLE SWEAT FOR THE TOP TEAMS EARLY ...
After Gonzaga nearly became the first No. 1 seed ever to lose to a No. 16 seed on Thursday, there was no such trouble for the top teams early Friday.
No. 2-seed Duke had the toughest time, contending with a feisty Albany team until the final minutes. No. 2-seed Miami flattened Pacific. No. 1-seed Indiana had no issue with James Madison, cruising to an 83-62 win.
... BUT PLENTY LATE
Besides No. 2 Georgetown biting the dust, No. 1-seed Kansas had all kinds of trouble against the 16th-seeded Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky, who have a recent history of tournament success — reaching the Sweet 16 in 2008 and the second round in 2009. The Jayhawks came through in the end to win 64-57, but they'll need to improve in a highly anticipated third-round matchup with UNC.
COACHING CAN BE BRUTAL
The NCAA tournament may be fun for us, but it's a stressful time for coaches. How do we know? Just take a look at the emotions written on their faces.
It's gotta be the shoes . . . and socks . . . and purple jersies . . . and whatever the heck Cincinnati was wearing. Here are some of our favorite fashion statements of the day (click on each to enlarge):
(From left: Miami guard Durand Scott's neon shoes, Miami guard Rion Brown's orange shoes, Albany guard Mike Black's mustard shoes, Cincinnati's patterned uniforms)