Welcome back to BracketRacket, the one-stop shopping place for all your NCAA needs.
Today's edition includes the mad rush at Florida Gulf Coast's bookstore, a Plumlee family reunion and Nate Silver's reconfigured odds for the 16 teams left in the field. And, for your viewing pleasure, a little dance move we've called the (Gregg) Marshall Mamba.
The surprising run to the Sweet 16 has made Florida Gulf Coast University a favorite bandwagon team, with fans from all over the nation jumping onboard.
On campus, it's created quite a stir, particularly at the university bookstore.
After the guys from Dunk City became the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16, the school bookstore was bombarded with hundreds people hoping to pick up FGCU gear. The bookstore website had Sweet 16 shirts available Monday morning and the line outside the store snaked around more than 100 long. Customers stood shoulder to shoulder inside — a somewhat blurry look here: http://bit.ly/10cKHAY — and the checkout lines took up to an hour to get through.
According to information provided by Susan Evans, FGCU's vice president and chief of staff, sales of hats and apparel for the men's team at the bookstore from March 1-25 were just under $115,000, over $100,000 more than a year ago. The women's team has gotten a nice boost in popularity as well, sales of their team's gear at over $34,000 after hitting just over $5,000 last year.
The school's websites also have seen a huge uptick in traffic during the Eagles' run.
The daily unique visitors to www.fgcu.edu barely eclipsed 50,000 even after FGCU made it into the NCAA tournament, but was over 230,000 on Monday. The athletics website, www.fgcuathletics.com, had a dramatic jump as well, climbing over 117,000 unique visitors after hovering under 10,000 before the weekend.
Oh, and the Eagles seem to have some strong support in Alaska, at least to an ESPN SportsNation poll: http://bit.ly/15SgVEP
Miles Plumlee spent most of his rookie season bouncing from the NBA's Indiana Pacers to the D-League's Fort Wayne Mad Ants and back.
Now he's hitting the road again — at the wrong time for an impromptu family reunion.
His two younger brothers, Mason and Marshall, will be in town for Thursday night's NCAA Midwest Regional, playing for second-seeded Duke against No. 3 Michigan State at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"I'm excited for them, but I'm a little upset we're not playing any home games this week," Miles told AP Sports Writer Michael Marot after Tuesday's Pacers practice.
About an hour after practice, Miles left with the team headed to Houston for its first stop on a four-game road trip that runs through the rest of the regional round.
The rest of the Plumlees will likely converge on his hometown while the oldest brother is gone.
"I have no idea who's coming, but a lot of the family is coming. We still have a lot of family here," Miles said. "I'm so proud of him (Mason). He's put in a lot of work since his freshman year and now you can see how he's grown."
Statistical guru Nate Silver has recalculated the odds for the final 16 teams in the NCAA tournament.
Why do you care what he thinks? Well, the man from the FiveThirtyEight blog had his statistics dialed in the past two presidential elections, nailing all 50 states in the most recent one while calling nearly every Senate race.
He's turned his critical eye toward the NCAA bracket and came up with new odds now that the field has pared down.
Louisville is still the favorite, its odds up to 32.4 percent from 23.8 percent. Next in line is Florida, which jumped eight points to 21.3 percent and leapfrogged Indiana, which dropped nearly eight points from 18.4.
Florida Gulf Coast has better odds of winning now that the No. 15 seed has reached the Sweet 16, but not much — the Eagles are up to 0.02 percent after starting at 0.001.
See Silver's analysis here: http://nyti.ms/10F5Irz
Yesterday, we showed you Miami coach Jim Larranaga's version of the Muhammad Ali Shuffle.
Today, we give you the celebration dance of Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall. The Marshall Mamba? Via Yahoo! Sports and CBS/Turner: http://yhoo.it/105XzJ7
WHAT DOES A GUY GOTTA DO?
Used to be that getting to the NCAA tournament was a huge goal for a basketball program.
These days, it's not always good enough.
On Monday, UCLA's Ben Howland and Minnesota's Tubby Smith were fired after leading their teams to the field of 68.
Howland had a 10-year run in Westwood, going 233-107 while making three consecutive Final Four appearances and winning four Pac-12 titles. The Bruins were the regular-season champions this season and went 25-10, but lost to Minnesota by 20 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Smith, who won a national championship with Kentucky in 1998, was fired Monday after the Gophers lost to Florida in the NCAA's third round. He went 124-81 in six seasons at Minnesota, helping to bring the program back to respectability after it was hit hard by an academic cheating scandal.
Now both coaches are looking for jobs.
STAT OF THE DAY
Ratings for the first week of the NCAA tournament were the highest in 15 years.
Turns out, you're watching online, too.
NCAA March Madness Live, managed by Turner Sports, set all-time marks by getting 36.6 million live video streams and more than 10 million hours of live video across online and mobile platforms during the opening weekend on the NCAA tournament.
The live video streams doubled from last year and the live video time is up 198 percent.
That's a lot of tablets and smartphones tuned in to the tournament.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"He is an avid physical fitness freak. That's probably a reason why his back situation is what it is today. He would run 20 miles at a time. The physical condition that he is in is amazing to this day. I would've been the opposite, I would've been doing whatever I'm supposed to do other than that. In a funny way, that combination made us get along so well." — Arizona Sean Miller on Ohio State coach Thad Matta, whom he calls one of his closest friends in coaching.
Follow John Marshall on Twitter at http://twitter.com/johnmarshallap