The real Cinderella died as midnight crept into Saturday morning, the dastardly, unaccommodating, fairy-tale-spoiling Florida Gators turning Dunk City into Funk City. People in Fort Myers now go back to doing whatever it is people in Fort Myers do as Florida Gulf Coast University disappears quietly back into the ether, as if it never happened.
The reasonable-facsimile Cinderella, however, lives on!
FGCU’s ouster left Wichita State as the Last Cinderella Standing entering the weekend’s Elite Eight games. The other seven surviving teams all were top-four seeds and had combined for 12 national championships, all winning at least one.
Except for Wichita State, seeded No. 9 and bereft of a national title.
I did not like Wichita State’s chances against second-seeded Ohio State on Saturday night despite the underdog’s impossibly Cinderella-y nickname: Shockers.
It wasn’t just that I thought Ohio State was better. It was that Wichita State had been given an impromptu pep talk from, of all people, Gators icon Tim Tebow. I could only imagine that the Shockers were then inspired that they, too, might ultimately disappoint and go on to unsuccessful, short-lived pro careers.
Instead, the Shockers did what Shockers do. They Shocked!
As for Miami Hurricanes fans still lamenting their team’s ouster, Sunday’s last two Elite Eight games should inspire renewed interest and vigor. After all, if a fan of The U cannot cheer for his own team, is not the next best thing to root loudly against the Blue Devils and Gators?
• The Dolphins’ new logo features a dolphin that is sleeker, more stylized and no longer wearing a helmet. It only took the club 48 years to figure out that the only thing dorkier and less menacing looking than a dolphin is a dolphin wearing a football helmet.
• Miami this week signed former Bears guard Lance Louis, former Chargers defensive tackle Vaughn Martin and former Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes. So I guess it’s official, then. All of the big, exciting free agent signings are done.
• Dolphins also in the news offering to pay for a referendum on stadium improvements and reimburse the city if the modernized stadium fails to attract major events such as Super Bowls. Cannot confirm that billionaire opponent Norman Braman will counter by offering to pay people to vote against public funding.
• UM filing to the NCAA a motion to dismiss the Nevin Shapiro-related case against the Hurricanes. I am told the official NCAA response is expected to be something along the lines of, “Yeah, right!”
• CBS analyst Doug Gottlieb, on an NCAA pregame panel with four black cohosts, caused a stir saying, “I’m just here to bring diversity to the set. Give kind of the white man’s perspective …” He apologized, but, I must say, as a spokesman for the White Community, I was not offended.
• LeBron James complained about unsportsmanlike fouls by the Bulls in the loss that ended the Heat streak, after which the Celtics’ Danny Ainge called it “embarrassing” that James would complain. Even more embarrassing: Another club’s president butting into something that doesn’t involve him.
• Heat president Pat Riley fired back at Ainge, suggesting he “shut the [expletive] up and manage his own team.” Also worth considering: Ainge, as a player, led the NBA in whining.