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
, former Chargers defensive tackleVaughn Martin
and former Falcons cornerbackBrent 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 opponentNorman Braman
will counter by offering to pay people to vote against public funding.
• UM filing to the NCAA a motion to dismiss theNevin 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 analystDoug 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.
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 presidentPat 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.
• The Heat’sChris Bosh
is throwing himself a lavish 29th birthday Wednesday with a Moroccan theme, belly dancers, fire breathers and a live camel, all presented by Remy Martin V. My last birthday party featured a Carvel ice cream cake from Publix.
• And in other NBA news, Boston’sKevin Garnett
continues to be sidelined with a dislocated scowl.
• Bulletin! The Marlins have signedGiancarlo Stanton
to a 10-year, $200 million extension! (Sorry. That’s your Mean April Fool’s Joke one day early.)
• ESPN’s ranking of the top 500 baseball players has the Marlins slugger Stanton No. 16 but no one else higher than pitcherRicky Nolasco
at 314th. New nickname for Marlins batting order (minus the pitcher): Giancarlo & The Seven Dwarfs.
• Tigers aceJustin Verlander
signed a new seven-year, $180 million contract. The guy could only be luckier if he also dated supermodelKate Upton
. Wait. I forgot. He does that, too. DAMN HIM!
has regained golf’s No. 1 ranking entering the upcoming Masters. Nike rolled out an ad that reads, “Winning Takes Care Of Everything.” Actually, in Tiger’s case, I think giving a $110 million settlement to his ex-wife took care of everything.
• Answer: Thank God. Question: Can you believe the last-place Florida Panthers have only 12 games left in this truncated 48-game hockey season?
• The Pittsburgh Penguins’ 15 wins in a row after Saturday’s victory were two short of the NHL record. Can you spare a win or two for the poor Panthers, please?
• The Fort Lauderdale Strikers open the NASL soccer season in six days. You know what’s funny?Daryl Shore
, in his fourth season, is the second-longest-tenured current South Florida pro coach afterErik Spoelstra
Former Notre Dame linebackerManti Te’o
continues to run slow 40-yard dash times in preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft. He ran his most recent 40 on Saturday. Will let you know when he finishes.