The end to two impressive basketball runs

Alex Geli
Staff Writer

Florida Gulf Coast defied all expectations in this year’s tournament.

Florida Gulf Coast defied all expectations in this year’s tournament.

Nowadays, the constituents of our dear country have a plethora of items to gripe about. Whether we grapple with the decision of tater tots, onion rings or fries, find that our 11 items are restricting us from the 10-items-or-less aisle, or the GPS insists on recalculating rather than guiding us to our destination: the possible lamentations that we have at our disposal are endless. But it’s safe to say that ordinary citizens aren’t the only ones faced with these first-world problems; athletes have their own reasons to throw a fit – or GPS, preferably out the window – of their own as well.
The Post-27-Game-Win-Streak Miami Heat. LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and company had their hopes of equalizing the Los Angeles Lakers’ 1971-1972 team’s 33-game winning streak snuffed by the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday while the Heat were a mere 6 games shy of the NBA record for most consecutive wins. It seemed destined to happen, since the “Big 3” – James, Wade and Chris Bosh – was starting to sputter shown by their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, where they found themselves down as much as 27 points.
To propel their team to the 101-97 victory, Luol Deng, 28 points, and Carlos Boozer, 21 points and 17 rebounds, put up strong performances. Speaking of strong, though, James, who was wrestled to the ground multiple times, showed some resentment during the postgame because of the unsportsmanlike fouls that the Heat had endured throughout the matchup.
Albeit, the preternaturally dominant streak has officially ended, after nearly two months – February 1st was their last loss prior to this game – of stomping on opponents. It took some literal stomping to halt their journey to the record books, but, hey, the Heat have something to hold their head up about: whatever tight competition for the number one seed in the East is now far in their rear-view, munching on the dry dust it left behind back in February.
The “Dunk City” Eagles’ Dumbfounded Opponents. Filling out NCAA tournament brackets is a ritual that millions of sports fan undertake every year. The fad is picking number-one seeds and riding on their backs in order to shove their correctly chosen – more like guessed – Final Four off to their more risk-taking friends.
This year, though, Florida Gulf Coast has broken that mold. The number 15-seed had snuck its way into the Sweet 16, which is something no other 15-seeded team has done before in the history of March Madness. After a stunning win over second-seed Georgetown, then another victory over San Diego St., a seven-seed, FGCU was on the tongues of sportscasters, fans and Final Four-guessers everywhere.
At Cowboys Stadium last week, before a well-deserved crowd of 40,639, the high-octane team that was appropriately dubbed as “Dunk City”, their Cinderella run was ended by a familiar foe: the Florida Gators. Although they couldn’t keep up with the Gators’ top 5-ranked ranked offense and defense, FGCU has drawn a line in the sand.
Will there be another Cinderella next year that will follow in the Eagles’ footsteps? Or will there be no underdog victories in sight, to the risk-taking friends’ dismay?
We’ll just have to see; but, for now, let’s return to our attention to this year, as the Final Four in Atlanta, Georgia approaches, all culminating with an April 8th championship game. And although it won’t be FGCU cutting down the nets that day, their story has reminded college basketball fans why this tournament is so great: the expected is rarely the end result.