Between the First Four and the two first full days of wall-to-wall NCAA Tournament action, 36 games have been played. Thirty-six teams have been sent home. Thirty-two teams have advanced. No game has been won on a buzzer beater (although Vander Blue came closest), but several were won by teams that no one expected to succeed. As Cinderellas emerged in certain corners of the bracket, top-seeded teams cruised in others. Amidst it all, Chase Fieler slammed home the alley-oop that put Dunk City, Fla. on the map. From A-Z, here is a rundown of everything you need to know about the madness of March (so far):
Atlantic 10: President Obama believed that the Big Ten was the strongest conference during the year. The selection committee granted the most bids to the Big East. Once the ball was thrown up, however, it was the A-10 that stole the show. Highlighted by No. 13 La Salle's upset win over No. 4 Kansas State (coming after a First Four win), the Atlantic 10 has gone 6-0. VCU and Saint Louis dominated. Temple and Butler are moving on. As Mike Lopresti of USA Today Sports calculated, the round of 32 will be 15.6% A-10 teams.
Bracket: Through April 8th, everything will be a bracket. Food is a bracket. Curse words are a bracket. Hate is a bracket. Most importantly, the NCAA Tournament is a bracket. Did you fill yours out? Did you have Harvard and Florida Gulf Coast advancing? Do you need to print a new one after early upsets forced you to shred it. If so, then click here.
Cinderella: Sherwood Brown and the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles pulled off just the seventh 15-over-2 upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Florida Gulf Coast University didn't admit a student until 1997 or become eligible for the NCAA Tournament until last season. On Friday night, FGCU stunned No. 2 seed Georgetown. The Eagles aren't the only Cinderella squad hoping to keep dancing until midnight strikes on Monday, April 8th. No. 14 Harvard eliminated No. 3 New Mexico for the first-ever NCAA Tournament win in school history and No. 13 La Salle stunned No. 4 Kansas State.
Dunk City, Florida:
With a performance that would have earned the approval of Phi Slama Jama, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles stunned Georgetown on Friday. No single play exemplified the swagger and success of the team's play (and, apparently, the school's social media policy) than a late alley-oop slam by Chase Fieler. With Georgetown attempting a comeback, FGCU point guard Brett Comer tossed this lob pass up for his teammate, who rose high to throw it down.
Early Exits: While the second round of the NCAA Tournament tends to be defined by moments like Chase Fieler's dunk for Florida Gulf Coast, it can be devastating for teams on the wrong sides of those highlights. The No. 2 Georgetown Hoyas headline the 2013 crop of disappointments, joined by No. 3 New Mexico, No. 4 Kansas State and No. 5 Wisconsin. In each case, strong seasons will be remembered by many as disappointments because of the lack of tournament success. The Hoyas and Lobos were considered contenders for Final Four spots but couldn't escape the working week.
Famous Fathers: Watch a game in the NCAA Tournament and you may hear about a player's notable dad. Miami point guard Shane Larkin, who delivered yet another stellar performance as the Canes romped over Pacific, is the son of MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. Michigan star Tim Hardaway Jr. is the son of ... you guessed it ... former NBA player Tim Hardaway. His teammate Glen Robinson III is the child of a former No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. The father of the UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad, Ron Holmes, was at the center of a late-breaking scandal involving the talented freshman. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Holmes has been developing his son into an NBA prospect throughout his life, which has apparently gone on for one year longer than anyone was led to believe. Muhammad is, apparently, 20 years old and not 19 as was previously stated.
Great Danes: The Albany Great Danes were, for a few hours, perhaps the most popular team in the nation. Paired with Duke in the second round, No. 15 Albany went from the America East Tournament to being America's team. Well, they at least represented the segment of the population that loves to hate the Blue Devils. To their credit, Albany hung tough -- and looked good doing it with their purple uniforms and yellow kicks -- before Duke pulled away with the 73-61 win.
Havoc: Under coach Shaka Smart, the VCU Rams have been unleashing their Havoc defense on ill-prepared opponents. The high-pressure strategy crushed Akron in the second round as VCU rolled to an 88-42 win. VCU forced 21 turnovers and limited the Zips to 15 made field goals.
Injuries: As recently as the second-to-last play of the semifinal of the Pac 12 Tournament, UCLA looked like they could make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. On the final play of that game, however, freshman guard Jordan Adams broke his foot. He had scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half as the Bruins rallied for the win. Without him, UCLA would lose to Oregon in the Pac 12 title game and then be brushed aside with little trouble by No. 11 Minnesota in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Jerrell Wright: The La Salle Explorers already have two wins to their credit in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. After a First Four win over Boise State, No. 13 La Salle stunned No. 4 Kansas State in Kansas City. The Explorers were led in that upset win by Wright, who finished with 21 points on 6-of-6 shooting. He pulled down eight rebounds and didn't commit a turnover, helping La Salle take command of the game. After K-State closed in late, Wright drained key free throws to preserve the win.
Kansas: The top-seeded Jayhawks trailed No. 16 Western Kentucky at the intermission in Kansas City and narrowly averted a historic upset. Unable to hit a three-point shot and stymied by the Hilltoppers pressure Kansas could not separate themselves from the champions of the Sun Belt. Kansas center Jeff Withey delivered a strong performance and free throws by freshman phenom Ben McLemore sealed the win.
Louisville: Rick Pitino's Cardinals looked every bit the No. 1 overall seed in the field of 68 in a dominant opening win over No. 16 North Carolina A&T. The Cardinals' defense forced 27 turnovers en route to a 78-49 rout.
Marshallmania. For 20 minutes, Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers seemed to have shut up Marshall Henderson. Ole Miss' talented and talkative shooting star -- dubbed "College Basketball's Most Entertaining Gunner" by Deadspin earlier this season -- scored just two points in the first half and missed 12 of his first 13 shot attempts overall. The junior would find his stroke in the second half, scoring 17 of his 19 points as the Rebels rallied for an upset win. Not only is Henderson's "Land Shark" celebration being picked up by other players in the Big Dance but his game -- and shot selection -- earned the attention of LeBron James.
Needless to say, Henderson noticed and had the responded about how Auburn fans would expect.
NCAA Investigation. For the second year in a row, reports broke on the eve of the Tournament that Syracuse was under investigation by the NCAA. In 2012, Orange center Fab Melo was ruled out at the last minute. In 2013, CBS reported that the university received a letter of preliminary inquiry from the NCAA regarding possible violations. With a full compliment of players, Syracuse demolished Montana, 81-34. The champions of the Big Sky could not fly as high as C.J. Fair.
Otto Porter: The Big East Player of The Year struggled mightily as his Hoyas were dealt a stunning upset in the second round. The 6' 8" sophomore swingman shot 5 for 17 from the field for just 13 points while grabbing 11 rebounds. Rated the No. 4 NBA Draft prospect by Chad Ford of ESPN ahead of the NCAA Tournament, Porter's Georgetown career likely ended on a sour note.
PAC 12: West of the A-10, no conference had a more impressive second round in the NCAA Tournament than the PAC 12. Smarting from perceived slights by the selection committee, No. 12 Oregon dispatched No. 5 Oklahoma State with relative ease on Thursday. Likewise, No. 12 Cal took care of No. 5 UNLV. Rounding out an impressive Thursday for the Pac 12, No. 6 Arizona took care of No. 11 Belmont. UCLA may have looked listless in defeat to Minnesota but it was still an impressive round for the conference.
Quintillion. As in, the odds of filling out a perfect bracket are 9 quintillion to 1. Who had Harvard and Florida Gulf Coast advancing?
Roy Williams: North Carolina's win over Villanova in the second round gave Williams his 700th career win. Up next, for the Tar Heels is the Roy Bowl. UNC advances to face Williams' former school Kansas in the round of 32. This one might generate a bit of attention back in Lawrence.
Saint Louis: The No. 4 Billikens overwhelmed No. 13 New Mexico State in their opener and looked very capable of a deep run. Saint Louis reached the tournament last year with coach Rick Majerus on the sideline but the colorful, court tactician left the team before the season due to health problems. He passed away in December. Under former assistant coach Jim Crews, this veteran group of players has won the A-10 regular-season and conference titles.
"It was like Rick was up on top of the backboard slapping the ball out," New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies said after his team's defeat.
Trey Burke vs. Nate Wolters: The anticipated duel between two of the most prolific scoring guards in the country didn't materialize on Thursday. Both players started slow and struggled with their shots all afternoon. Burke tallied just 6 points on 2-12 shooting while Wolters contributed only 10 on a 3-14 day. Luckily for Burke, his teammates -- notably Glen Robinson III -- stepped up and overpowered Wolters' Jackrabbits.
Uniforms: While revealing his bracket picks to Andy Katz of ESPN, President Obama couldn't resist getting in a dig at the neon mint uniforms sported by Notre Dame ahead of the NCAA Tournament. Sporting the white counterparts to those Shamrock Shake suits, Notre Dame couldn't keep up with Iowa State in the second round.
With Turner broadcasting games along with CBS, the players weren't the only ones making fashion statements. Sideline reporter Craig Sager broke out a "bracket" tie, again.
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 20, 2013
Vander Blue: The Marquette guard saved his team from an early upset on Thursday. After a late turnover by Davidson left the door ajar for a Marquette comeback, Blue burst threw for a diving layup that dropped with just one second remaining on the clock. No. 14 Davidson squandered an nine-point lead in the final minutes as Blue and Jamil Wilson dragged Buzz Williams' team into the round of 32.
Work: Did you get any done on Thursday or Friday? According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, American workers cost their companies at least $134 million in “lost wages" during the first two full days of play.
X-Factors: The mercurial N.C. State Wolfpack went from the preseason Top 10 to a major disappointment to an NCAA Tournament wild card. Facing No. 9 Temple in the second round, No. 8 NC State delivered a performance as uneven as its season. Despite a strong start from C.J. Leslie, the Pack fell behind by double digits in the first half. Of course, they staged a furious rally late, closing within two points in the final seconds, only to come up short.
Yogi Ferrell: Through almost 15 minutes, Indiana's freshman point guard was outscoring James Madison all by himself. The 19-year-old first-year player from Indianapolis, got off to a scorching start and No. 1 Indiana never looked back.
Zags. The top dogs in the West Region, Gonzaga narrowly avoided becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 in the history of the NCAA Tournament. The No. 16 Southern Jaguars tied the game at 54 deep into the second half before Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell hit key buckets for the top seed.