Posted March 25, 2013 for IndySportsLegends.com

fgcu

New York Daily News photo.

How busted is your bracket these days?

Maybe I should ask what’s in your wallet, but I can pretty much guarantee there ain’t as much in there now as there was last week.

Wow. Talk about a crazy week at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Crazier than normal. And you could see this coming with all the turnover in the Top 15 just about every week since Christmas.

But I don’t think anything could have prepared us for La Salle winning three games. Or Florida Gulf Coast University. Florida Gulf Coast? Had you even heard of FGCU before last week?

I find the upsets captivating (and the near-misses frustrating), but I also think this year’s tourney to date signals the end of the runs of several teams as Cinderellas. Butler and Gonzaga come to mind because of their “mid-major” status and deep runs through tournaments past. However, I believe the “Cinderella” tag no longer applies to these teams because their string of success in getting to — and getting deep into — the NCAA tourney is so long. On top of that, it’s possible other teams are catching up to the longtime Cinderellas. Gonzaga finally got their coveted No. 1 seed — and got all the way to the third round. Butler could only garner a No. 6 seed, and gave Marquette all it could handle, but in the end that wasn’t enough.

I must say, though, that it is nice to see some new teams lining up against the Dukes and Kansases and Indianas of the world.

Is this the week the pumpkin shows up at the ball for La Salle and FGCU? La Salle has Wichita State, a fellow Cinderella, while Gulf Coast takes on Florida. I didn’t fill out a bracket this year, but I hope this isn’t the end of the road for these two teams this season — because they have already made this March Madness one of the most special in recent memory. And next year we get to see if these two teams start on the path of Butler and Gonzaga as long-term Cinderellas.

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