The first weekend of the NCAA tournament (also known as the greatest four days of the year) wrapped up last Sunday. While I am a bit sad that the next ‘Greatest Four Days of the Year’ are approximately 360 days away, we are still left with 16 teams, two more weekends, and 15 games that will help decide the eventual champion.
Through the first weekend, here are 10 things from the 2013 NCAA Tournament that I am most thankful for.
10. The Miami Hurricanes’ Neon Shoes
Some may call them obnoxious, but these shoes are EVERYTHING to me! They are phenomenal.
As proof of my love for these shoes:
So there’s that. Second to NONE.
9. Aaron Craft and the Ice Water That Runs Through His Veins
8. The School Bus-Sized Chip on the Oregon Ducks’ Collective Shoulder
Trivia question here: What do you get in 2013 for winning the Pac 12 conference tournament?
Answer: a number 12 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Question: what does the Oregon men’s basketball team do with a number 12 seed in the NCAA tournament?
After beating a young Oklahoma State team in the first round, Oregon went on to dominate a very good Saint Louis team in the round of 32. Good for them. It honestly won’t shock me if they beat Louisville.
Okay, maybe it will, but only a little. Oregon is in ‘eff you’ mode and playing fantastic in this tournament.
7. Marshall Henderson
Although Marshall Henderson and Ole Miss spoiled my opening round prediction, I am still thankful for his existence, both in this tournament and in general.
I mean, after his Rebels beat Wisconsin 57-46 in the tournament’s opening round, Henderson essentially sprinted to the nearest local establishment to celebrate.
God bless him.
6. Florida Gulf Coast Head Coach Andy Enfield’s Wife
Amanda Marcum, ladies and gentlemen:
God bless her.
5. Homeless-Looking Tim Hardaway Sr.
If there is one thing I learned this year about Tim Hardaway Sr., it’s that he is always wearing a beanie approximately 50% on his head. No more, no less. Ever.
I’m serious about this.
I can’t pretend to understand this, so I’m just going to appreciate it instead.
4. The Big Ten Conference Living Up to the Hype
The Big Ten has been considered the best conference in America all year long. During this NCAA tournament, it’s seven representatives are a combined 10-3, with four teams still alive in the Sweet Sixteen.
It is still possible for the Big Ten to have four teams in the Final Four in Atlanta. While I don’t necessarily think that will happen, it would be amazing, and the fact that it is even remotely realistic is insane.
3. The Southwest Philly Floater
LaSalle’s Tyrone Garland hit a last-second shot to defeat Ole Miss and propel LaSalle to the Sweet Sixteen. This shot will forever be referred to as the ‘Southwest Philly Floater‘.
Shot Execution: A+
Shot Name: A+
Post-Game Celebration: A++
(For the record, this GIF is entitled ‘LaSalle Swag’)
2. Double-Digit Seeds Causing a Raucous
The 2013 NCAA tournament marks the first time a 15-seed has reached the Sweet Sixteen (see below). It also features other double-digit seeds in the Sweet Sixteen in Oregon (12-seed) and LaSalle (13-seed), who will face 9-seed Wichita State for a berth in the Elite Eight.
While no one could have predicted this specific bracket, the first two rounds have truly been the epitome of ‘March Madness’.
1. Florida Gulf Coast University
Here’s what I knew about Florida Gulf Coast University on March 21st, the opening day of the tournament:
- It is a university located in the state of Florida (presumably near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico)
- The school’s basketball team was given a 15 seed and first-round matchup with 2-seeded Georgetown
Here is what I have learned in the week since:
- FGCU (that’s what people in the know call it now) is located in Fort Myers, Florida (welcome to #DunkCity
- The team’s nickname is the Eagles
- The school was created in 1997
- Its basketball program is only in its second year of Division I competition
- Some of the school’s students play basketball and are capable of making plays such as this:
And – last, but not least – this:
In fact, the Eagles’ Cinderella run, combined with the plethora of surprisingly athletic dunks, may have inspired me to make the following purchase:
Spoiler alert: I bought that crew neck sweatshirt.
That’s right, I’m all in.
My lord, do I love the NCAA tournament.