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FGCU Looks to Continue Cinderella Run, Michigan to Stop a Kansas Repeat

For the South region, Sweet 16 play won’t begin until Friday night but it doesn’t mean that its teams aren’t already dominating the headlines.

This begins with 2013’s Cinderella,  #15 FGCU (26-10, 13-5). Whether it’s the school’s short existence, gap-toothed millionaire coach Andy Enfield, his hot model wife Amanda or its array of happy players, this team has been in the news nonstop since knocking off #2 Georgetown last Friday, followed by Sunday’s win over #7 San Diego State.

So what’s next for this team? They’ll play #3 Florida (28-7, 14-4) in Friday’s late game. The Gators will enter the Sweet 16 with 4 to 5 odds to win the South bracket while FGCU comes in at 15 to 1.

No worries, FGCU is confident things happen in threes and really, they have nothing to lose at this point.

And please don’t call this the team the little brother to Florida’s big brother status for Friday’s match up.

FGCU coach Andy Enfield

FGCU coach Andy Enfield

Enfield said defensively of this comparison via CBSSports, “Who’s the big brother. I think we’re just as big as them. They have a $110 million athletic budget and I think our budget is about eight or nine million, so I guess from a budget perspective we are a little brother. But from a size and talent perspective, I think we’re both equal-sized brothers.

“Our guys are just as talented, they’re just as athletic and they’re just as good.”

But is FGCU really ready for Florida’s defense? Enfield added, “They’re a top-five team in the nation defensively. They give up 37 percent from the field and 54 points per game, which is really low. But that’s nothing new.”

For FGCU, they have the Atlantic Sun’s player of the year, Sherwood Brown, followed by his teammate Bernard Thompson who was the defensive player of the year for the league.

As for the Gators, they have Big Dance experience on their side, winning back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007. During the last two years, they’re ended their dance in the regional final.

Mike Rosario will come to Friday’s game after his hot play against Minnesota in the 78-64 Sunday win. He had 25 points (8 for 12 shooting) including 6 for 9 in 3-pointers. The team shot 65 percent in the first half.

And in case you’re wondering if these two schools have ever met before, the answer is yes. They played in 2008 with the Gators winning 94-60. The teams tried to get a scrimmage for the 2012-2013 season but it didn’t work out.

Now they’ll have their chance to meet but every Cinderella story comes to an end. It will do so on Friday with a Gator win (-13, 135.5 o/u).

#4 Michigan vs. #1 Kansas

Michigan's Trey Burke

Michigan’s Trey Burke

Before Cinderella hits the floor, the first game on Friday from the South is the Michigan (28-7, 12-6) vs. Kansas (31-5, 14-4) game.

While it’s one game at a time, for Michigan they’re especially hungry for a win as they haven’t reached the Final Four since the Fab Five in the early 1990s.

They’ll bring one of/or possibly the best point guard in the NCAA, Trey Burke. He is a Naismith Player of the Year award finalist and has just been named as Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year. Couple him with Tim Hardaway, Jr. and this duo is hard to beat.

But Kansas has its own talented guard, Ben McLemore.  He is considered a top-five pick for this year’s NBA but good luck reaching this high selection after Sunday’s game against UNC. He had two points and from the field, he went 0 for 9.

Fortunately his teammate Jeff Withey showed up and had an affinity for the number 16; he scored 16 points with 16 rebounds. He’ll go up against Michigan’s tournament darling, freshman Mitch McGary.

For the Kansas, they’ll enter the game with higher expectations as they look for a repeat visit to the national championship game.

This is going to be a tough one but the Jayhawks will get it done (-2, 136 o/u).




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