The Stack is back on this Monday in awe of what we have seen from the NCAA tournament so far. Some thoughts from week one of the tournament are straight ahead as well as other headlines from the weekend so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Monday, March 25:
March Madness thoughts
Three teams seeded #12 or lower are in the Sweet 16 for the first time in NCAA history. #12 Oregon, #13 LaSalle and #15 Florida Gulf Coast. Florida Gulf Coast is the first #15 seed ever to reach the Sweet 16. And they have done it in dominating fashion, running away with games in the second half. They did it again last night against San Diego State. It was close at 54-52 before FGCU went on a run to put the game away, eventually coasting to an 81-71 win.
What about the Explorers of LaSalle who didn't have to win two, but three games last week to advance to the Sweet 16. They beat Boise State in the first round in Dayton and then got off to a huge start against #4 Kansas State before hanging on. Then they came back against #12 Ole Miss, hitting a big shot late to beat the Runnin Rebels 76-74. It appears as though they have a bit of a VCU run in them like the Rams did in reaching the Final Four back in 2011. Win that first round game, get all of the first game jitters out and anything can happen. They have done just that so far.
Let's not forget what the Wichita State Shockers did, "shocking" college basketball with their 76-70 victory over #1 Gonzaga in the West Regional. Head coach Greg Marshall has done a phenominal job with this squad. They have a great chance to make it to the Elite 8.
Overall, this has been a wacky tournament, perhaps one of the most frustrating and perhaps best tournaments we've seen in a long time. There are a lot of brackets out there that people are about ready to shred, but that's the beauty of the tournament. You see stars being born right before your very eyes whether that be a team (Florida Gulf Coast) or a player (Ramon Galloway, LaSalle). Sure there have been games where neither team can make a basket, you'll get that. But the overall tournament has been great. The Sweet 16 is setting up to be unpredictable. It's a shame that we have to wait until Thursday again for the madness to resume. What are some of your thoughts on the tournament?
Elvis Dumervil picks Ravens
After the fax snafu that led to his release, defensive end Elvis Dumervil had a choice. Stay with the Denver Broncos or see how badly some other team wanted his services. Sunday, he chose to start a new with the Baltimore Ravens, inking a five year deal worth $35 million. After losing so many players from their Super Bowl run, this is a great signing by the Ravens. Dumervil is a beast and a great pass rusher. The Ravens have done a great job in filling a void on defense. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done with this team, but they have added a terrific piece.
Heat extend streak to 26 games
Shockingly, the Miami Heat extended their franchise record win streak (second longest in NBA history as well) to 26 games Sunday following their 109-77 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Dwayne Wade sat this one out with an injured knee, but Heat fans shouldn't have been worried. It's the Bobcats after all. The Heat play the Orlando Magic tonight and the Magic gave them a scare last time they played, but Miami should get by pretty easily. Will they get to 32 games? I don't know, but 27 seems like it should be fairly easy to do tonight.
Ben Howland fired from UCLA
The UCLA men's basketball team is looking for a new coach after the decision was made to fire head coach Ben Howland on Sunday. Howland was with the program for ten years and took UCLA to three straight Final Four appearances in his first five years, but he has struggled in recent years. This year, the pressure was really on him with a stellar recruiting class coming in that included Shabazz Muhammad. While UCLA did make it to the NCAA tournament, their second round exit to Minnesota was enough to seal Howland's fate. He should be able to find work pretty quickly while UCLA will try to find that next name to get the program back to what John Wooden had done for them. Good luck with that. Shaka Smart from VCU is the name to watch out for here. Don't think he'll go there, but it bears watching.
Coming up later this week: 2013 MLB preview, March Madness and more