Wichita State and Florida Gulf Coast are Sweet 16's Cinderella Stories

The 2013 NCAA Tournamentfield is down to 16 teams, your bracket is destroyed, and apparently Florida Gulf Coast University has a basketball team. Upsets abounded, the madness was unparalleled, and the first three rounds of the Big Dance reminded us that the title “Expert Analyst” is flimsy at best.

Of the remaining 16 teams, 30% are between seeds six through 15. For the first time in history, a number 15 seed team (Florida Gulf Coast) is in the Sweet 16. Ninth seeded Wichita State upset number one Gonzaga in a stunning third round match in which the Shockers shot an incredible 54% from three. La Salle, a 13th seed, shocked Kansas State and Mississippi to advance. The games have been unprecedented from a competitive standpoint, as Kansas and Gonzaga nearly became the first one seeds in tourney history to lose to a 16 seed.
Though predicting how the rest of the mayhem will play out makes me as mad as a March hare, I’ll play Cinderella and give it the old college try.
Midwest Region
Shocking Upset: No. 12 Oregon 74, No. 4. St. Louis 57
Sweet 16 Match Ups:
No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 12 Oregon
Two teams that are playing devastatingly efficient, I think Louisville’s size advantage and inspired guard play will topple the under-seeded Ducks.
No. 2 Duke vs No. 3 Michigan St.
Michigan State will finally meet some complimentary size in the paint, but with Mason Plumlee dominating down low and Seth Curry lighting up all over the court, the Blue Devils will roll over the outmatched Spartans.
South Region
Shocking Upset: No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast 78, No. 2 Georgetown 68
Sweet 16 Match Ups:
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Michigan
With Ben McLemore only shooting 15% thus far and the rest of his teammates committing an egregious amount of turnovers, the cadre of lottery picks on the Wolverines squad will dominate early. The Jayhawks will make a final push, but Michigan prevails.
No. 3 Florida vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast
I just can’t bet against Florida Gulf Coast. They’re doing their best LA Clippers “Lob City” impression and winning by an average of 10 points a game. They will overwhelm the Gators and shock the world.
West Region
Shocking Upset: No. 9 Wichita State 76, No. 1 Gonzaga 70
Sweet 16 Match Ups:
No. 9 Wichita State vs. No. 13 La Salle
La Salle has essentially had to play three perfect games to get to the Sweet 16, and when they faced a well coached, defensive minded, and efficient three point shooting team, the basketball Gods will not smile upon them. WSU moves on.
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Arizona
The pesky defense of Aaron Craft, the “old man’s game” of Deshaun Thomas, and an uber-athletic supporting Buckeye cast will be too much for Arizona, a team that’s had an easy draw thus far.
East Region
Shocking Upset: No. 12 California 64, No. 5 UNLV 61
Sweet 16 Match Ups:
No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 4 Syracuse
Syracuse has been inconsistent all season and if future lottery pick Michael Carter-Williams doesn’t show up, Victor Oladipo and crew will take them behind the woodshed. The Hoosiers simply have too many options and will roll over the inexperienced Orange.
No. 2 Miami vs. No. 3 Marquette
Marquette needed 39 minutes and a lot of luck to win each of their first two games against Davidson and Butler. Kenny Larkin and the high flying Miami offense won’t be as forgiving, and I fully expect them to blow out the Golden Eagles.
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