NCAA Tournament 2013: Best and worst of Sunday's madness

USA TODAY Sports

With a pair of buzzer-beaters and two "teen seeds" advancing to the Sweet 16, the final act of the NCAA Tournament's opening weekend certainly did not disappoint.

The final day of the NCAA Tournament's first weekend delivered in just about every area that makes the tournament attractive. There were terrific games featuring top seeds, there were multiple contests won via made shots in the closing seconds, and there was the Cinderella team that America has fallen in love with making history and extending its season at the same time.

Somewhere Vanessa Williams was nodding slowly as it all went down. That's not a "Save the Best for Last" reference, she's actually just an enormous Andy Enfield fan who possesses an enviable ability to keep her emotions in check.

Here's everything that the best day of the tournament so far had to offer.

3 BEST GAMES

1. No. 2 Ohio State 78, No. 10 Iowa State 75 (West)

We called for a buzzer-beater on Sunday morning, and Aaron Craft has never been one to disappoint.

Craftclutch

The shot by Craft, who had missed a late jumper and some key free-throws down the stretch, lifted Ohio State to a 78-75 win over Iowa State in an opening game on Sunday that was a dogfight from start to finish. It's also one that didn't end without some significant controversy.

On the possession before his game-winning shot, Craft slid in front of Will Clyburn of Iowa State, who made a driving lay-up even with the collision with the Buckeye junior. Despite the fact that Craft had appeared to slide over late and that his foot was hovering above the restricted circle underneath the basket, Clyburn was called for charging and the basket was waved off. Suffice it to say, the call was the center of much attention after the game.

The Ohio State win saved a small amount of face for the West Region, which was in extreme danger of losing each of its top five seeds before the end of the first weekend. The Buckeyes will now face sixth-seeded Arizona for the right to play the La Salle/Wichita State winner in the Elite 8.

2. No. 13 La Salle 76, No. 12 Ole Miss 74 (West)

La Salle became the first team in the tournament to win three games thanks in large part to Tyrone Garland's tough lay-up with 2 seconds to play.

When asked to describe the game-winning shot, Garland referred to the move he utilized as the "Southwest Philly Floater."

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The win lifted the Explorers, who began their tournament run with a win over Boise State in the First Four last Wednesday, into the Sweet 16 for the first time since they played for the national championship back in 1955. Ramon Galloway's 24 points led the way for the last team standing out of the Atlantic 10.

The loss marked the end of the tournament run for controversial Ole Miss star guard Marshall Henderson, who just couldn't walk away without making some headlines.

First, Henderson said after the game that an official admitted to him on the possession before Garland's game-winner that he had seen Henderson get fouled (in fairness to Marshall, he definitely was fouled).

"I know I was fouled and the ref knows I was fouled but he said he's not calling a foul with 1 second left (on the shot clock)," Henderson said after the game. "I drove in, got the rebound and when I went up, he took my whole left hand out and I was like, 'That's a foul.'"

Henderson also couldn't make it to the locker room without giving the middle finger to the Kansas City crowd, an act which he said was the product of someone yelling that his sister was a whore and "something about cocaine." Henderson violated his probation last spring by testing positive for cocaine, marijuana and alcohol.

3. No. 1 Indiana 58, No. 9 Temple 52 (East)

Miami/Illinois could have just as easily landed in this spot, but I think you have to give the nod to the game with the No. 1 seed.

Trailing by four with a little over two minutes to play, the first "fight or flight" moment of the tournament for Indiana came a little bit earlier than anyone expected. The Hoosiers responded like a potential champion is supposed to, scoring the game's final 10 points and moving on to the tournament's second weekend.

IU's biggest bucket of the final minutes came from national Player of the Year candidate Victor Oladipo, who stroked an uncontested three-pointer with 14 seconds left to put the Hoosiers up 56-52. Khalif Wyatt, who scored 31 points for the second straight game, then forced a heavily guarded three on the other end that barely drew iron, effectively ending Temple's upset bid.

The win moved Indiana's all-time record as a No. 1 seed to 11-1, the best such mark of any Division-I program that has played at least seven games as a top seed.

3 TEAMS THAT WON IT THE BEST

1. Florida Gulf Coast

At this point, I will take more Florida Gulf Coast any way I can get it. I will watch them play soccer, I will watch them play chess, I will watch them as special guests on an episode of "Finding Bigfoot" where they don't find anything even close to resembling Bigfoot.

You simply cannot give me enough FGCU.

The best thing about the Eagles, aside from their infectious collective personality (more on that later), is that they go against everything we thought we knew about 15 seeds from watching decades of NCAA Tournament basketball. In situations where the 15 seed is supposed to get overly cautious and let the favorite back into the game, Florida Gulf Coast is throwing alley-oops. Against teams where the 15 seed's only hope is supposed to be letting it fly from the outside, FGCU attacks the rim for 40 minutes.

Take Sunday night, for example. San Diego State has a reputation for being one of the most athletic teams on the West Coast, and although strong post play isn't exactly the Aztecs' signature asset, they certainly possess enough size to make a team from the Atlantic Sun think twice about attempting to score at the rack. Or at least that's supposed to be the deal. Instead, Florida Gulf Coast got 16 of its 33 made field goals against SDSU via lay-up, putback or dunk.

I said a week ago that the Eagles were one of the three most under-seeded teams in the tournament, but all I expected to come from that was a tougher game for Georgetown than most people expected. Instead, FGCU is the first 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to advance past the Round of 32, and the new darlings of American sport.

2. Duke

The last game of the weekend was supposed to be ripe with upset potential, as second-seeded Duke squared off against All-American Doug McDermott and Creighton. Instead, the Blue Devils led from the 16-minute mark of the first half on, in a game that never really felt in jeopardy after halftime.

McDermott managed to score 21, but the Bluejays made just 2-of-19 three-point attempts and shot just 30.2 percent from the field overall. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game that it was the best defense his team had played all year.

They'll need a similar effort next Friday night when they face Michigan State in what might be the showcase matchup of the Sweet 16.

3. Florida

Mike Rosario hit six three-pointers and scored a team-high 25 points to lead a dominating effort by the Gators in the Round of 32.

Florida, which led by 21 at halftime, hit 10 of its 20 three-point attempts and shot 56.8 percent for the game. It did take its foot off the gas a little bit in the second half, however, allowing Minnesota to get as close as seven points. Rosario then responded with a soul-crushing three-pointer from the right corner that broke the Golden Gophers' spirit for the last time.

Florida now assumes the role of Team Iceland to the Team USA/Mighty Ducks of Florida Gulf Coast. For the next five days, Billy the Kid will become Billy the Dentist.

3 BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

1. Creighton

Duke is probably the second or third best team in the tournament, and it played a terrific game on Sunday night, but you'd still expect one of the nation's highest-scoring teams to score more than 50 points in the most important game of their season.

2. Temple

I know, what? It seems wrong, but you have to be disappointed when a team has every opportunity to pull off the biggest win of its season and doesn't cash in.

Temple was in prime position to knock off one of the favorites to win the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, and I'm not sure the Owls could have handled the final five minutes worse.

For all his heroics both against Indiana and two days earlier against NC State, Khalif Wyatt's attitude really cost his team when its season was on the line. Wyatt pouted about not getting foul calls, he pouted when he wasn't passed the ball, he took two horrendous shots in the game's final 1:30, and he showed little interest in playing defense when the Owls had to get a stop. The result of this and the rest of his team's equally poor play was IU finishing the game on a 10-0 run and advancing on a day when it probably didn't deserve to.

3. North Carolina

The Tar Heels led by nine at halftime, but if you started watching about 10 minutes into the second half, you would have thought they were never in the game. The performance was pretty indicative of UNC's season, one in which the Heels never went away from the reckless style of play that only works if you have four or five guys destined to hear their names called during the first round of the NBA Draft.

THE ALL-DAY 4 TEAM

Khalif Wyatt, Temple

Yeah, I dogged him a second ago, but still ... 31 points is 31 points. The man can play.

Mike Rosario, Florida

The former Rutgers transfer drilled 6-of-9 from beyond the arc on his way to scoring a team-high 25 points. If he continues to be this type of offensive threat, then Florida's season is going to end in Atlanta.

Andre Hollins, Minnesota

The sophomore guard who scored 28 in Minnesota's win over UCLA on Friday hit 8-of-13 shots and dropped 25 on Sunday.

Ramon Galloway, La Salle

Tyrone Garland hit the game-winner, but it was Galloway who carried the Explorers, finishing with six three-pointers and a game-high 24 points.

Bernard Thompson, Florida Gulf Coast

Thompson led the way for America's team with 23 points, five steals and four rebounds.

3 SUNDAY JEERS

1. Officials in late-game situations

We already talked about the blown call near the end of the Ohio State-Iowa State game, but there was an equally egregious error made later in the day that helped Miami slip past Illinois.

With 34 seconds remaining and Miami leading by two, a ball appeared to clearly go out-of-bounds off the Hurricanes' Kenny Kadji. Instead, UM was awarded possession and the Canes knocked down four straight free-throws to keep Illinois from getting another shot to tie or take the lead.

"You saw the same video I did," first-year Illinois coach John Groce said after the game. Groce would not allow his players to comment on the call.

2. The Florida Gulf Coast website

Time for a server upgrade, fellas.

3. Sad Tar Heel Fan

Even if this was a joke, which I sincerely hope it was, it's not a good idea, my man.

Sadtarheel_medium

You think I'm going to make a ginger joke here, but I'm not. It's Monday morning and ginger jokes don't really hit until after about 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Trust me, there have been books written on this.

BONUS JEER: Marshall Henderson

He refused to shake hands, he flipped off the crowd and he simulated smoking an illegal substance during the game. Maybe not the best look for someone who has tested positive for cocaine and been arrested for buying $800 worth of weed with counterfeit money.

3 SUNDAY CHEERS

1. EVERYTHING FLORIDA GULF COAST DOES

All of it.

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Drop down and get your Eagle on, America.

2. Jim Larranaga's Muhammad Ali impersonation

In a non-FGCU world, this GIF might be the star of the tournament so far.

Larranga_medium

3. La Salle Glitter Bro Part III

Glitter Bro makes an appearance in Los Angeles, or I'm done with the tournament.

Glitterbroreturns_medium

5 BEST DUNKS

1. Eric McKnight, Florida Gulf Coast

Fgcuuuuuu

2. Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State

3. Chase Fieler, Florida Gulf Coast

4. Jeff Withey, Kansas

5. Eric McKnight, Florida Gulf Coast (it earned two spots)


3 NOTABLE QUOTES

1. "The whole city of Philadelphia is behind us. Fort Myers is behind us. The whole America is behind us." --Swiss-born Florida Gulf Coast guard Christophe Varidel

2. "We lost to another basketball team. The fact that I coached here for 15 years is extremely important to me, but it doesn't add anything to today." --North Carolina coach Roy Williams

3. "Temple, like I said to our players in the huddle, they're as tough a team physically and mentally as we faced all year, and we faced the best all year in the Big Ten. They take a backseat to nobody. This was a hard-earned victory that can only make us better." --Indiana coach Tom Crean

FULL SWEET 16 SCHEDULE

I don't want the break.

THURSDAY, MARCH 28 (7:00 PM-12:00 AM, ET)

Tip (ET)

Network

Site

Game

Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter

Producer/Director

7:15 p.m.

CBS

Washington, D.C. I

Marquette vs. Miami

Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery//Rachel Nichols

Bob Dekas/Suzanne Smith

7:47 p.m.

TBS

Los Angeles I

Arizona vs. Ohio State

Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Len Elmore//Lewis Johnson

Steve Scheer/Mike Arnold

After conc. I

CBS

Washington, D.C II

Syracuse vs. Indiana

Lundquist/Raftery//Nichols

Dekas/Smith

After conc. I

TBS

Los Angeles II

La Salle vs. Wichita St.

Harlan/Miller/Elmore//Johnson

Scheer/Arnold

FRIDAY, MARCH 29 (7:00 PM-12:00 AM, ET)

Tip (ET)

Network

Site

Game

Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter

Producer/Director

7:15 p.m.

CBS

Indianapolis I

Oregon vs. Louisville

Jim Nantz/Clark Kellogg//Tracy Wolfson

Mark Wolff/Bob Fishman

7:37 p.m.

TBS

North Texas I

Kansas vs. Michigan

Marv Albert/Steve Kerr//Craig Sager

Scott Cockerill/Lonnie Dale

After conc. I

CBS

Indianapolis II

Michigan State vs. Duke

Nantz/Kellogg/Wolfson

Wolff/Fishman

After conc. I

TBS

North Texas II

Florida Gulf Coast vs. Florida

Albert/Kerr//Sager

Cockerill/Dale

More in College Basketball:

Florida Gulf Coast makes history by advancing to the Sweet 16

Complete coverage of Sunday’s games, results, GIFs and more

Printable bracket for March Madness

Miami photobombs, dances, does it all

An oral history of Bryce Drew's epic buzzer-beater

Full coverage of March Madness

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