A really good quote on sports in today’s market.

I really liked this quote by Eric Deggans, a TV and media critic for the Tampa Bay Times in Tampa, Fla. It rings true to sports journalists and it is definitely something to think about.

“It’s simple industry math: sports is the form of television most resistant to the forces dismantling big audiences elsewhere. Fans want to see it live, which reduces use of DVRs, keeping viewers from fast-forwarding through commercials. And it’s the last big meeting place for viewers of all stripes, still setting audience records at a time when TV networks are losing 10 percent of their audience every year.

Which leaves staff positions as the best place to make cuts, especially if the company can use the instability to trade experienced, higher-salaried employees for younger, less-expensive ones. And if the jobs on the line are mostly held by folks who don’t appear on camera, fans may not notice anything. At least, not at first.”

The whole story, as well as his professional bio, can be found here. I take no credit for this quote or linked story in any way.

Sports writers and viewers, what do you think about this quote? Is it true? What are you thoughts?

Marty F. Nemec

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Louisville coach Rick Pitino thinks he is getting shot at (NCAAM)

Directly after the Louisville Cardinals won the National Championship against Michigan, coach Rick Pitino walked to give post-game handshakes. As he was walking, fireworks went off and Pitino ducked down because he thought someone had fired a gun. It was funny and I thought it was worth sharing.

-Marty F. Nemec

March Madness Final Four picks (NCAAM)

Elite Eight record: 2-2

I ran out of time to post analysis on these picks because I hung out with my cousins and aunt today. Unfortunately, I will just have to post my picks and be done with it. Sorry.

(4) Michigan over (4) Syracuse

I think the efficient and quick-paced offense of Michigan will be a little too much for the smothering zone defense of Syracuse. This one could go either way, though.

(1) Louisville over (9) Wichita State

I have to think Wichita State’s magic will come to an end against Louisville. Not only is Louisville more talented and athletic, but Louisville also is playing on another level in honor of Kevin Ware.

-Marty F. Nemec

The Michigan Wolverines get an official endorsement from Wolverine of the X-Men (NCAAM)

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In a deserving and talented Final Four, only one of the teams can say it is endorsed by one of the X-Men.

MichiganWolverinesbb

The Michigan Wolverines are in the Final Four and looked very good in a dominant 79-59 win over the Florida Gators. Louisville is still the favorite out of the four, but Michigan has been getting some buzz. Adding more buzz is the fact that Hugh Jackman, who has become well-known for his portrayal of Wolverine in the recent X-Men movies, has announced his support of Michigan.

Is Jackman a Michigan fan? Does he feel compelled to support the Wolverines because they share the name of his character? Maybe Jackman is just impressed with John R. Wooden Award winner Trey Burke, who he mentioned by name in the tweet.

Whatever the reason is, having one of the X-Men at your back is never a bad thing, whether it is in a movie or on a basketball court.

-Marty F. Nemec

Shocking the nation one team at a time (NCAAM)

For a while, you couldn’t watch a sports channel for five minutes without hearing about Florida Gulf Coast. The Eagles this, Dunk City that. Despite all of that attention, which mid-major is in the Final Four?

Wichita State is.

Wichita State beats Ohio State to get into the Final Four on March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Richard Mackson/ USA TODAY Sports)

Wichita State beats Ohio State to get into the Final Four on March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Richard Mackson/ USA TODAY Sports)

During the non-stop FGCU lovefest, Wichita State, a 9-seed, was silently handling their business. No one in the country noticed their campaign through the West region into the Final Four. The West’s 1 and 2-seeds (Gonzaga and Ohio State) are now sitting at home while Wichita State is one game away from playing for the trophy.

Wichita State (30-8) has never won the National Championship or even played in one. The only other Final Four the Shockers have played in was in 1965. Wichita State is so small, the school had to give up football in 1986, making the basketball team that much more important in terms of revenue and school spirit. This is big for the school and the players aren’t taking it lightly.

Wichita State has lived by its rebounding and is the top-rebounding team in the Final Four with 38.5 rebounds per game. Its next opponent, Louisville, is only pulling in 32.8 rebounds per game, which is nearly six less. Wichita State does this by playing bigger than they are. Yes, this is an overused cliche, but the average height of all players that played in at least 30 games for Louisville is 6-foot-6-inches and for Wichita State, it is 6-foot-5-inches. These are very comparable heights, yet the highly recruited players for Louisville still average significantly less rebounds.

While Louisville does hold a sizable advantage in points per game during this tournament, scoring 80.8 to Wichita State’s 72.8, Wichita State has shot better from three-point range and from the foul line, averaging almost one more for every ten attempts in both categories. If you’ve ever watched college basketball, you know that both of those are what gets a team back in a game, especially in late-game situations.

Wichita State also holds a small lead in assists per game (4.5 to 4.0) and blocks per game (6.0 to 4.5).

Statistics say that the Shockers have a chance, but even if they don’t, it’s hard to argue that this run isn’t remarkable. In a Final Four filled with big schools that everyone can recite the school colors of in five seconds, it’s nice to see a team that most basketball fans can’t even name the state the school is located in.

Shocking, isn’t it?

(Wichita State is in Kansas, by the way.)

-Marty F. Nemec

March Madness Elite 8 picks (NCAAM)

Sweet 16 record: 5-3

Another bad round of picks. I look forward to the National Championship because I’ll have a 50/50 shot of getting it right! Woo!

Michigan's Trey Burke #3 shoots a 3-pointer  over Kansas's Kevin Young #40 that sends the game into overtime on March 29, 2013. (Photo by: Mike Stone/Reuters)

Michigan’s Trey Burke #3 shoots a 3-pointer over Kansas’s Kevin Young #40 that sends the game into overtime on March 29, 2013. (Photo by: Mike Stone/Reuters)

Midwest Region

(2) Duke over (1) Louisville

In this season, it would not be surprising if no 1-seeds made it to the Final Four. Duke beat Louisville earlier in the season but that almost feels like last year now (Technically, it was). Louisville and Duke are both much better now and few teams are playing on the level of these two. Duke is one of two teams in this year’s tournament that has won every game by double digits, but unlike Florida, has played a team that isn’t a double digit seed. Two, in fact. Louisville has the better offense and Duke has the better defense, but both teams are very close on paper. This will be a battle of coaching. I have to go with Duke in that department.

West Region

(2) Ohio St. over (9) Wichita State

On paper, Arizona was a tougher match-up for Ohio State than this game against Wichita State. That doesn’t mean Wichita State can’t win this game. There is a reason the words “Wichita State” and “Cinderella” haven’t been said in the same sentence. The Shockers are a quality team. Ohio State is still the top-scoring team in the tournament (82 ppg) and will need DeShaun Thomas to not miss a beat with his scoring. Aaron Craft’s leadership and ball control is a sure thing but the team could definitely use another good night behind the three-point line from LaQuinton Ross.

South Region

(4) Michigan over (3) Florida

Florida has been playing well, but against three consecutive double digit seeds. Michigan has already gone through the 1-seed and won in a close, dramatic victory. I’ve been saying this all year: Michigan is one of the best teams in the country at playing from behind as Trey Burke loves late game heroics. That being said, the overtime victory over Kansas may have worn the team down. Michigan is a fast team with surprising size, but that same description could be used for Florida. You don’t want to get tired against the Gators. Michigan hasn’t seen this part of the tournament since the “Fab Five” and I expect them to capitalize.

East Region

(4) Syracuse over (3) Marquette

Marquette is back in the Elite Eight for the first time since Dwyane Wade was on the team. Syracuse seems to be here every year. The Orange have more experience, better coaching and more talent spread across the entire court. Syracuse lost to Marquette in the regular season by three points, but after taking down 1-seed Indiana, it’s not crazy to think this team is playing on another level now. Syracuse takes a close game.

-Marty F. Nemec

There is no winning in this year’s March Madness. (NCAAM)

Expect the unexpected… and the expected.

There is your official motto for the 2013 NCAA tournament.

Jamil Wilson #0 and the Marquette Golden Eagles beat the Miami Hurricanes 71-61 on March 28, 2013. (Photo by: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Jamil Wilson #0 and the Marquette Golden Eagles beat the Miami Hurricanes 71-61 on March 28, 2013. (Photo by: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Thursday night, 3-seed Marquette outplayed 2-seed Miami for 40 consecutive minutes to get a 71-61 victory. Marquette had won their first two tournament games by a combined three points. Miami won its first two games by a combined 33 points, although Illinois did come closer than expected to beating them. Out of all of the games this round, I was sure the Miami-over-Marquette pick was the most obvious of them all. Marquette had been struggling and I expected them to keep struggling against a fast and talented Miami team that won the ACC. I was completely wrong and that was obvious within the first ten minutes of the game. Marquette took off to a 12-4 lead and never looked back. Now, they are in their first Elite Eight since Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade was in a Marquette uniform.

Victor Oladipo #4 and the rest of the Indiana Hoosiers were no match for the Syracuse Orange. (Photo by: Bob Donnan/ USA Today Sports)

Victor Oladipo #4 and the rest of the Indiana Hoosiers were no match for the Syracuse Orange. (Photo by: Bob Donnan/ USA Today Sports)

One-seed Indiana was on the other side of the spectrum. Indiana had barely squeaked by 9-seed Temple in the Round of 32. Indiana was losing 52-50 with 1:51 left in the game before mounting a rally to win 58-52. I assumed that this close game wasn’t a foreshadowing of things to come and Indiana would work out the kinks before the game against 4-seed Syracuse. This time, I expected the unexpected and was burned again anyways. Syracuse dominated Indiana out of the gate and led 27-11 with 4:21 left in the first half. Indiana had no answer against the zone defense used by Syracuse and every Hoosier player except Victor Oladipo was neutralized and provided little help scoring. Indiana ended the game falling 61-50 as Syracuse moved on to the Elite Eight.

I played both sides of the fence and walked away with two giant red X’s on my bracket. I cringe when I think how tonight will go.

Either way, what an amazing year of basketball. When I step back and pretend I don’t have a bracket, I really am enjoying this upset-ridden tournament.

-Marty F. Nemec

March Madness Sweet 16 picks (NCAAM)

Round of 32 record: 12-4

I nailed many of the upsets in the “Where I Could Be Wrong” segments again, but I STILL couldn’t make myself pull the trigger in calling them! Getting all of these right would mean that half of the Elite Eight would be Big Ten teams. I’m positive that isn’t going to happen, but I still am going to go with my gut on these games. Haha.

The Round of 32 saw 1-seed Gonzaga go down. What high-seeded teams are leaving this round?

The Round of 32 saw 1-seed Gonzaga go down. What high-seeded teams are leaving this round?

Midwest Region

(1) Louisville over (12) Oregon
(3) Michigan St. over (2) Duke

Where I could be wrong: I’m a sucker for style mismatches, and Michigan State definitely causes one with their grinding, physical play. That being said, I think Duke is the more talented team and they could easily win this and make me look like an idiot. Although, with this year’s upsets, what’s new?

West Region

(9) Wichita State over (13) La Salle
(2) Ohio St. over (6) Arizona

Where I could be wrong: Arizona has played some bad teams, but they are frighteningly good both visually and statistically. Arizona is the fifth-highest scoring, fifth-best rebounding, and second-most efficient (FG%) team in the tournament. Arizona could take this one from Ohio State.

South Region

(4) Michigan over (1) Kansas
(3) Florida over (15) Florida Gulf Coast

Where I could be wrong: Kansas has been playing with fire the entire tournament, while shooting horribly from the three-point line. I think this is where their streak ends. That being said, the Kansas we all thought we would see might show up now that the stakes are raised.

East Region

(1) Indiana over (4) Syracuse
(2) Miami (FL) over (3) Marquette

Where I could be wrong: Syracuse’s high can compete with anyone in the country. Syracuse’s low makes you want to slap your forehead. Nothing less than their “high” is going to pull off an upset Thursday night.

-Marty F. Nemec

Ranking the top-10 conferences so far in the NCAA tournament (NCAAM)

During the regular season, fans of every team try to compare conferences. Most of the arguments are hypothetical, comparing records or the amount of ranked teams the conferences have. These arguments don’t hold weight because teams from different conferences have few common opponents. It’s hard to make comparisons until the conferences get put in a setting where they have to play each other.

We call that setting the NCAA tournament.

Every team’s goal over the course of the regular season is to make the tournament. Some shoot to go in as a high seed. Some just pray to make it in at all. Being invited to the tournament is an extreme honor for the entire conference, but teams also have to prove they belong by winning games.

Now that the tournament is down to the Sweet Sixteen, proper assumptions can be made from the remaining field. I will use these assumptions, as well as statistics to rank the conferences. I did not count the qualifying round for the few teams that played in it, as that isn’t part of the tournament and skews the win-loss records I’m using for comparisons. I also did not count teams in the NIT when compiling these stats.

1. Big Ten

Remaining teams: 4/12 (.334)
Invited teams: 7/12 (.583)
Overall record: 10-3 (.769)

(1) Indiana, (2) Ohio State, (3) Michigan State, (4) Michigan, (5) Wisconsin, (7) Illinois, (11) Minnesota

Indiana's Cody Zeller #40  goes against Temple's Anthony Lee #3 on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Indiana’s Cody Zeller #40 goes against Temple’s Anthony Lee #3 on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Jason Miller/Getty Images)

I hope you weren’t expecting anything different. Having one-fourth of the Sweet Sixteen teams is astonishing, especially when you consider that 7-seed Illinois lost by four points to 2-seed Miami. Also, 11-seed Minnesota played 3-seed Florida much better than anyone expected. Wisconsin was the only outright disappointment, as it lost to a lower seed and didn’t make it nearly as far as many thought.

The four remaining Big Ten teams are very good teams. Indiana is one of the trendy picks to get to the National Championship game and sports the third-highest scoring offense in the country (80 ppg). Ohio State stumbled against Iowa State’s strange combination of three-point shooting and offensive rebounding prowess, but stepped up when it mattered most (with the help of a controversial charge call). Regardless, Ohio State is on a 10-game winning streak and is now a member of a cushy bracket thanks to the early exits of Gonzaga, New Mexico, Kansas State and Wisconsin. Ohio State also has the highest scoring offense in the tournament so far (86.5 ppg) and leads the tournament in assists per game (18.5). Michigan has won both of its tournament games by an average score of 20 points. Defense eluded the Wolverines at times during the regular season, but they appear to have the hang of it now. Michigan also has the fifth-most efficient offense in the tournament, making 51.3 percent of its field goals. Michigan will play a very inconsistent Kansas team next. Michigan State is probably the most physical team in the country and provides a style mismatch for almost any team. So far in the tournament, Michigan State leads all teams in rebounding with an average of 49 per game. Michigan State will most likely have the toughest test of any Big Ten team when it plays 2-seed Duke.

2. Big East

Remaining teams: 3/15 (.200)
Invited teams: 8/15 (.533)
Overall record: 6-5 (.545)

(1) Louisville, (2) Georgetown, (3) Marquette, (4) Syracuse, (7) Notre Dame, (8) Pittsburgh, (9) Villanova, (10) Cincinnati

Louisville's Peyton Siva #3 tries to score against Colorado State's Wes Eikmeier #10 on March 23, 2012. (Photo by:John Bazemore/AP)

Louisville’s Peyton Siva #3 tries to score against Colorado State’s Wes Eikmeier #10 on March 23, 2012. (Photo by: John Bazemore/AP)

The Big East has nearly matched the Big Ten’s impressive tournament run, but the fact that the conference has three more teams hurts it in my rankings. Louisville is on a 12-game winning streak and has cruised through the first two tournament games, winning by 26 or more points in both. Louisville is probably written in the “National Champions” box on more brackets than any other team. The Cardinals lead the tournament in field goal percentage (5.69) and steals per game (15.5) and have scored a second-best 80.5 points per game. Syracuse has been a tale of two teams, one of the teams looking like one of the best in the country holding Montana to 34 points in the Round of 64. The other side of the team looks awful, losing seven of 12 games after starting the regular season 18-1. There were stretches of the game against California when it looked like the other Syracuse might be showing up, but the Orange fought it off. Syracuse at its best is certainly good enough to hang with Indiana, maybe even beat them. Marquette has been living on a prayer, winning its first two tournament by a combined three points. I’d like to say positive things, like how Marquette is the fifth-best free throw shooting team in the tournament, but I don’t think anything can save the Golden Eagles from Miami on Thursday. The other four Big East teams let the conference down by losing in the Round of 64, especially Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, who lost to lower seeds.

3. ACC

Remaining teams: 2/12 (.167)
Invited teams: 4/12 (.334)
Overall record: 5-2 (.714)

(2) Duke, (2) Miami, (8) North Carolina, (8) NC State

Dukes Seth Curry #30 fights for a loose ball against Creighton's Avery DIngman #22 on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Michael Perez/AP)

Duke’s Seth Curry #30 fights for a loose ball against Creighton’s Avery Dingman #22 on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Michael Perez/AP)

Duke has also had an easy tournament so far with the help of the sixth-highest scoring offense in the country (78.3 ppg). Duke even had to go through annual upset-artist Creighton in the Round of 32. Duke will play a very physical Michigan State team next. This game might be the best match-up of elite basketball coaches to date, as Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo are both famous and have at least one National Championship under their belts. Miami is also having a heck of a year and has looked good in the tournament despite Illinois getting within four points of the upset in the second game. Shane Larkin has scored in the double digits both games and Durand Scott scored 21 points in the game against Pacific. North Carolina had an 11-point lead on Kansas at one point of that game, but Kansas outscored the Tarheels 49-28 in the second half to win by 12 points. NC State saw itself out of the tournament by losing to Temple in the first game.

4. Pac-12

Remaining teams: 2/12 (.167)
Invited teams: 5/12 (.417)
Overall record: 5-3 (.625)

(6) Arizona, (6) UCLA, (10) Colorado, (12) Oregon, (12) California

Arizona's Nick Johnson #13 goes for a layup over Harvard's Christian Webster #15 on March 23, 2013. (Photo by: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Arizona’s Nick Johnson #13 goes for a layup over Harvard’s Christian Webster #15 on March 23, 2013. (Photo by: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Pac-12 has had a chip on its shoulder in this year’s tournament, especially Oregon, the champion of the conference, who was given a slap in the face in the form of a 12-seed. Oregon has been playing well, posting back-to-back upsets of 13 and 17 points against Oklahoma State and Saint Louis. Oregon feels disrespected and will provide a much tougher match-up than any statistic can show. Its next opponent will be Louisville, the overall 1-seed, so the world might see the Duck magic finally sputter out. Arizona has gotten a lucky draw because of upsets and has played Belmont and Harvard in their first two games. Regardless, Arizona has crushed its first two opponents and will play 2-seed Ohio State next with all of the confidence in the world. Arizona is a solid, high-scoring team that is good enough to upset almost anyone on any day. In this tournament, Arizona is the fifth-highest scoring team (77.5 ppg), the fifth-best rebounding team (41.5 rpg), and it has the second-highest field goal percentage (.560). Yes, this team has played inferior competition, but those are impressive numbers. California upset 5-seed UNLV and then gave Syracuse a good fight before succumbing 66-60 in the Round of 32. UCLA was a letdown in the first round, being taken down by Big Ten punching bag Minnesota.

5. Atlantic-10

Remaining teams: 1/16 (.063)
Invited teams: 5/16 (.313)
Overall record: 6-4 (.600)

(5) VCU, (4) St. Louis, (6) Butler, (9) Temple, (13) La Salle

La Salle's Rohan Brown #35 contests a shot by Ole Miss's Murphy Holloway #31 on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Charlie Riedel/AP)

La Salle’s Rohan Brown #35 contests a shot by Ole Miss’s Murphy Holloway #31 on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Charlie Riedel/AP)

La Salle has been the “Little Engine that Could” in this tournament, having to play in the qualifying round just to make it into the tournament, then taking down Kansas State and Ole Miss in back-to-back upsets. A person has to step back and appreciate the courage and determination for a team like La Salle to make a run like this. The team plays shoddy defense, but it has done enough to win. Its next opponent, Wichita State, will be tough but it is somewhat of a reward, as Wichita State is probably the easiest opponent of the remaining teams. Butler and Temple both won their first game and then took Indiana and Marquette to the brink, losing in very close games. VCU and St. Louis both impressively won in the Round of 64, just to be destroyed by the superior Michigan and Oregon.

6. Big-12

Remaining teams: 1/10 (.100)
Invited teams: 5/10 (.500)
Overall record: 3-4 (.429)

(1) Kansas, (4) Kansas State, (5) Oklahoma State, (10) Iowa State, (10) Oklahoma

Kansas's Travis Releford #24 celebrates a made three-pointer as North Carolina's Reggie Bullock #35 walks away on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Kansas’s Travis Releford #24 celebrates a made three-pointer as North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock #35 walks away on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

The Big-12, a conference that looked very talented during the regular season, fell apart quickly in the tournament. Kansas State losing to 13-seed La Salle was almost unbelievable. Oklahoma State was unfortunate in getting the angry Pac-12 champion. 12-seed Oregon, who was seeded way below what it should have been. Oklahoma was beat down by San Diego State and looked awful. The only two teams to advance past the Round of 64 were Kansas and Iowa State. Kansas has struggled mightily so far in the tournament. It was hard to picture them as a true threat to the tournament until the second half of the North Carolina when they scored 49 points in just that half. Kansas is having trouble with the three-ball, only making 25 percent of its three-point attempts. To put it in perspective, no team that makes less of its three-pointers is still in the tournament and neither are the next 12 ranked above it until you get to Michigan State (32 percent). Kansas does bring things to the table, however. The Jayhawks are the second-best rebounding team in the tournament, grabbing 42.5 rebounds per game. Kansas also has the second-most blocks in the tournament (7 bpg). Michigan is next on the schedule an Kansas will have to step up their level of play severely.

7. SEC

Remaining teams: 1/14 (.071)
Invited teams: 3/14 (.214)
Overall record: 3-2 (.600)

(3) Florida, (9) Missouri, (12) Ole Miss

Florida's Mike Rosario #3 is fouled by Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe #32 on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Eric Gay/AP)

Florida’s Mike Rosario #3 is fouled by Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe #32 on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Eric Gay/AP)

The SEC’s nickname during the regular season could have been “Florida and Friends” and that hasn’t changed much during the tournament. Florida has been dominant in the tournament, scoring a fourth-best 78.5 points per game. Florida’s defense lost track of Minnesota in the second half, but has played well over the two games. Florida looks like it could make the Final Four, but it will have to get through America’s favorite team, Florida Gulf Coast, and the winner of Kansas vs. Michigan. This won’t be an easy task. Ole Miss upset Wisconsin in a very impressive 57-46 victory right after winning the SEC title game and taking the crown from Florida. They used all of that momentum to lose to La Salle in the next game to effectively confirm that any noise the SEC makes in this tournament will be by the Gators. Missouri played awful in its loss to Colorado State. It’s hard not to expect more than this from a conference that has 14 teams.

8. MVC

Remaining teams: 1/10 (.100)
Invited teams: 2/10 (.200)
Overall record: 3-1 (.750)

(7) Creighton, 9) Wichita State

Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk #13 attempts a shot with heavy resistance by Wichita State's Carl Hall #22 and Demetric Williams #5 on Saturday, March 23, 2013. (Photo by: George Frey/AP)

Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk #13 attempts a shot with heavy resistance by Wichita State’s Carl Hall #22 and Demetric Williams #5 on Saturday, March 23, 2013. (Photo by: George Frey/AP)

Many people thought Gonzaga was overrated as a 1-seed. Many people questioned just how far Kelly Olynyk could carry this team. The world watched and waited to see who would take down the Bulldogs. Would it be Wisconsin or Pittsburgh? Maybe Ohio State in the Elite Eight? Question answered. It was Wichita State. Wichita State is simply playing good basketball right now. After an 18-point win over Pittsburgh and the six-point upset of Gonzaga, things are looking good for the Shockers. Because of upsets, Wichita State will play 13-seed La Salle next. Their tournament run could come to an end in the Elite Eight, however, when the winner of Ohio State vs. Arizona takes the court. Creighton also had a good run for a mid-major, winning a close game against Cincinnati and doing all it could against monstrously talented Duke.

9. Atlantic Sun

Remaining teams: 1/10 (.100)
Invited teams: 1/10 (.100)
Overall record: 2-0 (1.000)

(15) Florida Gulf Coast

Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown #25 takes flight in front of San Diego State's JJ O'Brien #20 on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Florida Gulf Coast’s Sherwood Brown #25 takes flight in front of San Diego State’s JJ O’Brien #20 on March 24, 2013. (Photo by: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Most small conferences like the Atlantic Sun are “One-and-done.” The winner of the conference gets a berth in the tournament, then that team loses in its first game. There is nothing wrong with that and it is a huge accomplishment to even make the tournament as a small school. That doesn’t seem to be the feeling in “Dunk City,” though. Florida Gulf Coast has taken over the country’s hearts and every second of Sportcenter it can with it’s vicious tempo, Denver Nugget-esque alley-oops, and nasty dunks. No 15-seed had ever made the Sweet Sixteen. Florida Gulf Coast did it with a double digit victory. The Eagles are the third-highest scoring team in the tournament (79.5 ppg) and the seventh most efficient team, making exactly half of its field goals. I would find it shocking if there was any other team Florida Gulf Coast would want to upset than Florida (except possibly Miami due to location) because of the Gators’ success in football and basketball over the last decade. Florida is tough, fast, talented, and physical under the basket. Florida is the favored team, and deservedly so, but I guarantee the Gators haven’t played a team with this much heart and energy. I expect a good game and Florida Gulf Coast could really become something special in sports if it can keep this run going for one more game.

10. West Coast

Remaining teams: 0/9 (.000)
Invited teams: 2/9 (.223)
Overall record: 1-2 (.333)

(1) Gonzaga, (11) Saint Mary’s

Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk #13 Leaves the court after a 76-70 loss to Wichita State on March 23, 2013. (Photo by: Harry How/Getty Images)

Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk #13 Leaves the court after a 76-70 loss to Wichita State on March 23, 2013. (Photo by: Harry How/Getty Images)

Gonzaga really outdid itself this year by only losing two games during the regular season. Regardless of who the competition was, that is an impressive feat and the Bulldogs deserve a huge amount of respect for it. In terms of ability, Gonzaga probably wasn’t a 1-seed over Duke and Miami, but the seed was good for it because it would allow Gonzaga a relatively easy path to the Elite Eight. Unfortunately for Gonzaga, after a closer than expected six-point victory over 16-seed Southern, it met its end against 9-seed Wichita State. It is definitely a disappointing and early exit for a team that was in position to do something magical. Kelly Olynyk should still be in the “Player of the Year” argument and people should show the team respect. Saint Mary’s had to earn its ticket in the qualifying round and then played a very close game with 6-seed Memphis, losing in a heartbreaking 54-52 slugfest.

Ole Miss’s Marshall Henderson flips off crowd after loss (NCAAM)

When your team suffers a close loss in the NCAA tournament, you feel a rush of anger come over you. Especially when the fans of the other team are cheering as you leave the arena with a sunk head. You’re probably so mad, you want to kick a bucket or flip the crowd off.

You don’t actually do it, though.

Marshall Henderson opted for all of the above when 13-seed La Salle sent 12-seed Ole Miss packing in a heartbreaking 76-74 loss Sunday night. Henderson angrily stomped over to a bucket and kicked it across the floor, then proceeded to flip off the crowd. Henderson has become famous for being a poor winner and loser, but this definitely takes the cake in regards to his head-scratching antics. Henderson scored a team-high 21 points and added three rebounds and three assists.

How do you feel about Henderson’s actions here? Is it just part of losing or does it show that this kid just isn’t mentally ready for adversity?

-Marty F. Nemec