You’ve just punched your ticket to March Madness in your senior season. Everything is great but for one thing, you’re having season-ending surgery before the Big Dance. Aerris Smith of the Wofford Terriers is just the best. Listen to the end and blub, blub all you want. Blubbing is manly.
Cinderella, March Madness, instant history, the excitement of college hoops, etc. etc. So Florida Gulf Coast University destroyed what was left of BallinEurope’s NCAA Tournament bracket after the (sigh)
University of New Mexico debacle plucky Harvard victory on Thursday with a thrilling 78-68 win over heralded no. 2 seed Georgetown. Unfortunately, the troika of FGCU’s European players didn’t do much, but who cares? The basketball upset of 2013 has been accomplished.
Therefore, the immediate YouTube-based reaction and clips, for posterity’s sake.
First off, let’s give props to a guy named Hebrew Hammy. Ol’ Hammy went on something called Collision Sports Talk a couple of nights ago, making the truly fearless prediction of the Eagles overcoming the mighty Hoyas. At least this part of the guy’s bracket ain’t broke…
And sure, here’s the dunk everyone’s gonna be discussing, posting, tweeting and retweeting today. Welcome to your 15 seconds of viral fame, Mr. Chase Fieler!
After trawling the rosters of teams invited to the 2013 NCAA Tournament, a.k.a. The Big Dance, a.k.a. the cause of March Madness, BallinEurope has decided to divide its loyalty among three European-accented college squads.
And you? Who do you like in the big bracket? Vote below, vote early, vote often. And let the Madness begin!
Who are you cheering for to win the 2013 NCAA Tournament?
- My alma mater (33%, 5 Votes)
- Duke (20%, 3 Votes)
- Any team except for Duke (20%, 3 Votes)
- Gonzaga (13%, 2 Votes)
- New Mexico State University (13%, 2 Votes)
- Florida Gulf Coast University (0%, 0 Votes)
- Any underdog (1%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 15
The easy choice for the European basketball fan would of course be Gonzaga. With a realistic shot at winning the whole enchilada and having perfected that up-tempo style for which this basketball program has become known, why not get on the bandwagon? After a topsy-turvy season during which it felt like a new no. 1 topped polls weekly, the Bulldogs finally emerged atop the ratings, only to see that ranking immediately erased thanks to bracket-building.
Of course, one could eliminate the Zags from contention for your Tournament-time devotion on a technicality. Guy Landry Edi’s hometown according to the NCAA and media sources is Paris, France. However, serious followers of FIBA ball will recall that, after playing with Team France in the U16s, he then suited up – thus changed his eligible nationality in FIBA terms – for Côte d’Ivoire in the 2010 FIBA World Championship (and subsequently the 2011 FIBA Africa Championship).
So could it be that Edi is finally worn down? Or, put another way, what happened to this guy in 2013? Since the New Year’s Eve game at Oklahoma State, Edi has totaled nearly as many personal fouls (11) as points (16, including seven in the Seniors Day Game blowout against Portland). Heck, he hasn’t scored a point since January 24, since going 0-for-13.
BiE wonders if we’ll ever see this player again (and thinks, yeah, maybe in Pro A next season):
Fans of international ball will be pleased to note the distinct foreign accent in the 2013 NCAA Tournament: 47 of the 60 sides with spots clinched in the competition list non-U.S. players on the roster. And while Canadians and Australians (including three on Albany and two with Luc Longley’s alma mater the University of New Mexico) lead the bunch, 18 European players remain on tourney team rosters.
Below runs a brief look at the first half of Europe’s representatives in the big bracket; with the other nine set to play for one of three tournament teams, BallinEurope will pay particular attention to these guys in an upcoming article.
First up: The two guys listed on rosters who will not see action. Notre Dame’s Eric Katenda (France) announced this summer that he was ready to get onto the court for the Fighting Irish after suffering a freakish potentially career-ending eye injury while still officially a recruit. Unfortunately, this comeback story has only a bittersweet ending thus far: While coach Mike Brey has stated that Katenda’s scholarship will be honored, the Frenchman did not suit up for the team this season.
For no good reason other than BallinEurope displaying pride in his alma mater, BiE today congratulates the University of New Mexico Lobos in winning their second-round NCAA Tournament match against the Long Beach State 49ers, 75-68. Drew Gordon, the Lobos’ potential NBAer – the Draft Express mock 2012 draft has him going to the Boston Celtics in round two – contributed an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double plus some excellent defense in the win.
And now, the angst.
A brief note from University of Kentucky basketball land and an interesting trick from coach John Calipari’s tactical bag: At practice, the Wildcat coach “instructed the team to call Kentucky’s lone senior Josh Harrellson ‘Enes Kanter’ for last night and all day” in the leadup to the Kentucy-Ohio State NCAA tournament game on Friday night.
“Just to get me going a little bit and I think it worked,” Harrellson explained in the post-game, “I came out and played like Enes would play. I think it was a good thing.”
Congratulations to Turkey’s Deniz Kiliçli and his West Virginia University Mountaineers, who pulled off the nice 73-66 upset of Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament regional finals last night. With six teams remaining in The Big Dance, Kiliçli is one of two remaining European youngsters in an otherwise all-American tournament; Baylor, with Bosnia & Herzegovina-born Dragan Sekelja, hope to upend no. 1 seed Duke in the Bears’ hometown of Houston.
Kiliçli saw minimal court time in the win, as WVU employed an exceedingly short rotation that had four starters essentially playing throughout and only six players grabbing more than 20 minutes on the floor. The freshman from Turkey had to have been happy just to be there, however.
After entering WVU from Mountain State Academy high school for the 2009-10 season, Kiliçli was immediately greeted with a 20-game suspension for – stop BiE if you’ve heard this before – having played some pro ball in Turkey.
(One has to wonder why, if the NCAA has deemed Kiliçli to have violated the principal precept of American amateur sport, he’s allowed to play college ball at all. Was it because he didn’t make *that much* money in Istanbul?)
Once activated, Kiliçli won the Mountaineer fanbase over quickly in going 4-for-4 for nine points in just seven minutes of playing time in his first-ever game with WVU against Pittsburgh. As the man says, “How about that for a start?”
With the NCAA basketball tournament field of 65 now set, Lithuania-based Basket News is taking pride today in a trio of countrymen participating in the tourney. Representing the yellow, green and red in March Madness will be:
• Deividas Dulkys, Florida State University. The sophomore formerly of Findlay College Prep managed 8.5 points and 2.4 boards per game while shooting with 39.4% success beyond the arc coming off the bench.
For those who think the NCAA Tournament is just for American basketball fans, think again.
Here are some facts to digest:
First of all, forget about thinking you can predict a perfect bracket – there are only 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible bracket outcomes, according to AskMen.com, meaning your chances are more 9 quintillion to 1 against.
Of the 64 teams in the final bracket, 42 of them are represented by at least one player born outside the United States. All told, 36 countries besides the U.S. are covered by a total of 79 foreign-born players.
The largest non-U.S. contingent comes from Canada with 14 players, followed by seven each from Serbia and Nigeria. Then come Cameroon, France and Lithuania with four each.
Looking further into the numbers:
Africa: 17 – seven countries
Central America: 6
South America: 4
And there are four teams (Utah, USC, Western Kentucky, Temple) with four non-Americans on their roster and six others (Connecticut, BYU, California, Cal-State Northridge, Florida State, Portland State) have three. North Carolina is the only No. 1 or No. 2 seeded team without a player born on foreign soil.
Very interesting has to be the locker room for Western Kentucky, which has two Belgrade natives, one player born in Cetinje, Montenegro, and another from the Philippines.
So when you’re watching the NCAA Tournament over the next two weeks, remember, this is a global event.