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A brief pause for some ponder-ation

And now, as the Blob catches its breath from the weekend's nonstop orgy of hoops, a few items that call for a brief excursion to Dwell City:

* How could we all have whiffed so badly on Florida Gulf Coast?

I mean, sure, a 15 seed doesn't get to the Sweet Sixteen every day (or any day, to be more precise), but FGCU is not your average 15 seed. The Eagles not only beat Georgetown and San Diego State, they woodshed-ed 'em. I mean, it was no contest in either game, really; the better team clearly won.

And now they get Florida, a dream matchup between the mighty state school and the nobody-knew-they-existed-until-four-days ago school from Fort Myers. Best stat of this one: The University of Florida men's basketball program has been around 87 years longer than FGCU's. The former was begun in 1915, the latter in 2002.


* Who says Brad Stevens would be a bad fit for the UCLA job?

It's open now because UCLA just fired Ben Howland, and so naturally Stevens and Shaka Smart -- the two hottest young coaches in the country -- are going to be mentioned as candidates. And even if Stevens-to-UCLA sounds crazy on the face of it, it's not.

Sure, he's a quiet, strailaced guy from Indiana whose philosophy and sensibilities are as Midwestern as breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches. And L.A. is L.A. Why, the last time that got put together, it was an utter calamity.

I mean, John Wooden only won 10 national titles.

* Speaking of firings ... not sure what Minnesota is up to, firing Tubby Smith three days after the 11th-seeded Gophers ball-peened 6-seed UCLA, and a day after the Gophers bowed out in the second round to third-seeded Florida.

Guess they were expecting the Final Four up there in Minneapolis. After all, it's not like they've only been there once in 108 seasons.

Oh, wait. It is.

* The American sports mentality being what it is, I'm sure there will be much sneering and "here's your crying towel" comments now that Costa Rica is protesting its 1-0 loss to the U.S. the other night in a World Cup qualifier in Colorado.

I have to say, though, I think Costa Rica might have a point, considering the game was played in what amounted to a blizzard.

Don't see how it's possible that could have been an accurate gauge of either team's worthiness. Just sayin'.

* Remember all the yapping heads who said March Madness isn't what it used to be?

Yeaaaah. Wonder what they're saying now that the overnight ratings for the first weekend were the highest in the last 23 YEARS.

Ben Smith's blog.