Upsets that favored Florida
Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.
The NCAA Tournament is all about matchups. Sometimes, it's about matchups that you don't see coming. It's called March Madness for a reason and one team's upset can be another's good fortune. Here are five upsets that helped Billy Donovan's teams in the tourney:
1. 2012 Norfolk State 86, Missouri 84.
Norfolk State was a 15 seed and Missouri not only had a talented team, but a big fan base in Omaha. What the Tigers didn't have was a second round. Not only did Norfolk's win knock the second seed out of the regional, but the Spartan players enjoyed their newly found fame a little too much and had nothing for Florida in the second round.
2. 1999 Weber State 76, North Carolina 74.
The Bill Guthridge-coached Tar Heels, who would make the Final Four a year later, had ended the regular season with a blowout loss against Duke and were hammered again by the Blue Devils in the ACC final. So maybe we should have seen this coming. Led by Harold “The Show” Arceneaux, 14th-seeded Wildcats pulled the stunner well after many people had gone to bed. Weber and “The Show” gave Florida fits in the next round, but the Gators prevailed.
3. 2006 George Mason 86, Connecticut 84.
George Mason was the perfect example of a Cinderella team, reaching the Final Four under Jim Larranaga by stunning No. 1 seed UConn. The 11th-seeded Patriots knocked off three higher-seeded teams before beating the Huskies. The Connecticut team had four players who would be taken in the first round of the 2006 NBA draft. Instead, Florida opened the Final Four in Indianapolis by trouncing George Mason, which played like a team happy to be there in the second half.
4. 2013 Florida Gulf Coast 78, Georgetown 68.
If one game can get a coach a better job, it happened for FGC's Andy Enfield, who is now at Southern Cal. Dunk City became the story of the tournament after the 15th-seeded Eagles surprised second-seeded Georgetown. FGC then beat San Diego State to set up the Sweet 16 game in Arlington, Texas, against a Florida team that had plenty of NCAA experience with the seniors playing in their 10th tournament game. The Eagles led early, but Florida pulled away at the end.
5. 2006 Wisconsin-Milwaukee 82, Oklahoma 74.
The 11th-seeded Panthers had been in the Sweet 16 the year before, but that was with Bruce Pearl at the helm. First-year coach Rob Jeter showed that the magic was still there with an upset in Jacksonville in the first round. But UWM was a perfect matchup for Florida's length and size and never had a chance as Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah and Al Horford combined for 53 points in a 22-point win.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.