March 22, 2013 at 9:26 PM
NCAA tournament: Winners and losers entering the weekend . . .
We’re down to 32 teams standing in the NCAA basketball tournament. And once again, we had a 2-versus-15 upset — Florida Gulf Coast over Georgetown. The first Friday of the tournament is getting a reputation for that; remember, it was last year that we had two of those 15 seeds going down within a span of a couple of hours.
Onward . . .
Winner: No. 12 seeds. The 5-12 matchups almost invariably produce some upsets, and we got them in triplicate — Oregon over Oklahoma State, Cal over UNLV and Ole Miss over Wisconsin.
Loser: The Mountain West Conference, which was rated in some quarters among the two top conferences in the nation. But it advanced only two of its five teams to the round of 32.
Winner: Atlantic-10. It showed some real teeth, with victories by Virginia Commonwealth, Butler, Saint Louis, LaSalle (twice) and Temple.
Loser: John Thompson III, Georgetown coach. Last year, as a 3 seed, Georgetown got bounced in its second game by No. 11 North Carolina State. In 2011, his sixth-seeded team lost to No. 11 VCU by 18 in its first game. In 2010, No. 3 seed Georgetown lost to No. 14 Ohio U. by 14. And now, falling to a No. 15 seed. That’s called pretty much spending your capital earned with 2007′s Final Four appearance.
Winner: Harvard. Nice, fearless team gets its first NCAA victory in history.
Loser: New Mexico. No Sweet 16 since 1974.
Winner: Florida Gulf Coast. Success isn’t supposed to happen this quickly.
Loser: Gonzaga’s marquee victims. Big 12 teams Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Oklahoma all fell, which will cause some to further doubt whether Gonzaga belongs in elite company.
Winner: Kansas City fans. They get a third-round matchup Sunday between Kansas and North Carolina, and that ought to be one tough ticket.
Loser: Jaime Dixon, Pitt coach. In the combined era of Ben Howland and Dixon at Pitt, the Panthers have never beaten a higher seed in the NCAA tournament. Their performance against Wichita State was simply abysmal, none more so than senior guard Tray Woodall, who went 1 for 12 with two air balls, five turnovers and one assist. You had to feel for Woodall, who broke down in tears on the interview podium.
Winner: Florida teams, which went 3-0 (Florida, Miami and Florida Gulf Coast).
Loser: Howland, the UCLA coach, who might be toast in Westwood despite winning the Pac-12 regular-season title. It was going to be a tall order to win NCAA games, with Jordan Adams shelved, and the inability of Howland’s teams to push tempo to the liking of some UCLA partisans might do him in. Minnesota, a hard-nosed team, wasn’t what the Bruins needed to see.
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