The NCAA Tournament has been crazy so far. The first number one seed has fallen (Gonzaga) to a very unlikely opponent (Wichita St.). Florida Gulf Coast came out of nowhere to become the first 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16. Harvard won its first ever NCAA Tournament game and the real Cinderella teams have emerged. In this article, we’ll analyze this year’s Cinderella teams and their chances to win it all.
Florida Gulf Coast (15)
The ultimate Cinderella story of this year’s tournament, Florida Gulf Coast has seemed to accomplish the impossible. As I mentioned, they are the first ever 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16. But they not only reached the Sweet 16, they did it in impressive fashion, defeating each of their opponents by 10 points. They played like a number one seed, outscoring their opponents by 19 points in the last 20 minutes of each of their tourney games. They have outscored their opponents in transition by 27 points, and have always been explosive in the second half, scoring 34 of their 47 points in transition. In fact, their second half explosions often lead to many amazing dunks by the Eagles, hence their nickname “Dunk City”. Florida Gulf Coast is legit, and they have a great chance to go far in the Tournament.
More on Florida Gulf Coast: The Secret to FGCU’s Success
Wichita State (9)
Like FGCU, Wichita State came out of nowhere to make it to the Sweet 16. They knocked out the number eight seed Pittsburg in the Round of 64, and shocked the nation when they defeated the number one seed Gonzaga. Wichita St. had to be on top of their game and play physically in order to oust Gonzaga in the third round. They were led by Ron Baker, who had 16 points, and Cleanthony Early, who also had 16 points. They played by their motto, “Play angry”, and never quit, which led to their emotional triumph over the top seed in the AP top 25. They came back from down 49-41, and outscored Gonzaga 35-21, including 5 straight 3 pointers in the last 6 minutes. This is a team that can play hard, and if they can make it past LaSalle, they have the potential to go far in the Tournament.
With LaSalle and Florida Gulf Coast both in the Sweet 16, this is the first time in tournament history that two teams seeded 13 or lower have reached the Sweet 16. The Explorers beat the Old Miss Rebels 76-74 with Tyrone Garland making the layup with 2 seconds left in the game. LaSalle runs a four guard offense that creates matchup problems gives them a chance to dominate. They averaged 1.64 points per possession and shot 65.2 percent against Ole Miss. The key to the game between LaSalle and Wichita State will be the physicality of Wichita State. If LaSalle makes it past the Sweet 16, they probably won’t go too much further because there are much bigger and more physical teams ahead.
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