15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast Eagles soar into Sweet 16 in NCAA Tournament 

click to enlarge Christophe Varidel and Florida Gulf Coast have shocked the NCAA Tournament by advancing to the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed. - ELSA/GETTY IMAGES
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  • Christophe Varidel and Florida Gulf Coast have shocked the NCAA Tournament by advancing to the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed.

PHILADELPHIA — Florida Gulf Coast went from shocking the college men’s basketball world to downright impressing it. And the Eagles were smiling the whole time.

Playing loose and easy, little-known FCGU beat San Diego State 81-71 on Sunday to become the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” said Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield, whose players tossed him into the air and poured water on him in raucous celebration. “We try to have fun, get serious when we have to.

“Our goal was to make history and we did it.”

The next opponent for the upstart state school will be the main campus, third-seeded Florida, on Friday in the South Regional semifinal in Dallas.

“We tried to scrimmage them early in the season in the preseason,” Enfield said. “Now we get our shot.”

Bernard Thompson had 23 points and Sherwood Brown added 17 for FGCU, the 16-year-old school in just its second season being eligible for postseason play.

Florida 78, Minnesota 64

AUSTIN, Texas — Mike Rosario scored 25 points as the third-seeded Gators (28-7) used an overpowering first half to roll past the 11th-seeded Gophers (21-13) and into the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive year.

WEST REGIONAL

OHIO STATE 78, IOWA STATE 75

DAYTON, Ohio — Aaron Craft made a last-second, tie-breaking 3 as the second-seeded Buckeyes (28-7) edged the 10th-seeded Cyclones (23-12) to remain the lone top-five seed left in the NCAA Tournament’s most-busted regional bracket.

EAST REGIONAL

INDIANA 58, TEMPLE 52

DAYTON, Ohio — Victor Oladipo hit a key 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining and the top-seeded Hoosiers (29-6), their season moments from ending in disappointment, shut down Temple star Khalif Wyatt in the final three minutes to hold off the Owls (24-10). The Hoosiers trailed by four with 2:56 left, but closed with a 10-0 run.

KANSAS 70, NORTH CAROLINA 58

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Behind the impassioned play of Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, the top-seeded Jayhawks (31-5) shook themselves out of a first-half slumber and blitzed the eighth-seeded Tar Heels (25-11) and ex-Kansas coach Roy Williams down the stretch.

Miami 63, Illinois 59

AUSTIN, Texas — Shane Larkin hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with a minute left and Miami gained possession on a ball knocked out of bounds that probably should have gone to Illinois (23-13), helping the Hurricanes (29-6) advance.

MIDWEST REGIONAL

Duke 66, Creighton 50

PHILADELPHIA — Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points, Seth Curry had 17 and the second-seed Blue Devils (29-5) held off the seventh-seeded Bluejays (28-8).

La Salle 76, Mississippi 74

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyrone Garland banked home a scooping layup with 2 seconds left as the 13th-seeded Explorers (24-9) beat the 12th-seeded Rebels (27-9) to reach the Sweet 16, the farthest La Salle has gone since winning the title in 1955.

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