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March 24, 2013

Heat win 27th straight!; Canes, Heat having way too much fun (dueling videobombs); plus Cinderella FGCU, Gators, UM title odds & more

[1) It is TUESDAY, MARCH 26. New blogpost coming later today. 2) Sorry we had to skip our live blog chat yesterday; we'll pick it back up next Monday. 3) Click on Random Evidence for my latest Sunday notes column. Leads with Heat/Hurricanes hoops mania. 4) In the Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes, Heat win; Madness, Serena, Haiku winner. 5) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

Heat win 27th straight: A routine 108-94 win at Orlando last night for No. 27, moving ever closer to Lakers' 1971-72 NBA record of 33. LeBron James one rebound shy of a triple-double. Ho hum.  

Canes 4th-best odds for national title at 15-2: New from Bovada, it's Louisville favored at 3-1, then Florida 19-4, Indiana 5-1, and UM and Ohio State both 15-2. Florida Gulf Coast is 16th (last) at 75-1. 

1aa1heatbomb 1aa1gambleHEAT, CANES HAVING WAY TOO MUCH FUN: DUELING PHOTOBOMBS!: Chris Bosh, who leads the Heat in photobombs -- actually, videobombs -- struck again last night (left) as Dwyane Wade (who had the night off) interviewed LeBron James following Miami's 26th win in a row. Bosh crept in with a karate chop and then a Japanese-style bow. Click on Heatbomb to watch. Not long after, in Austin, Tex., UM's Julian Gamble (right) photo-bombed an interview with teammate Shane Larkin. Click on Canesbomb for the animated version. Edge to Gamble for the simplicity and the creepy grin. Let the good times roll!

SUPER BALL SUNDAY: HEAT STREAK, CANES SEASON ON LINE AGAIN AND STILL ALIVE: It was another sublime, heart-stopping doubleheader for Miami basketball junkies...

1aa1a16No. 2 Hurricanes d. No. 7 Illinois, 63-59 -- Sweet 16, anyone? Miami was a 7-point favorite to get there for only the second time in school history (2000), and did, if barely. Rion (The Lion) Brown's 21 points including two key late free throws led UM, along with Shane Larkin's huge 3 with a minute left. Miami will next face Marquette. NCAA Sunday had a distinct state flavor, of course, because:

Gators, FGCU also advance: No. 3 Florida Gators beat No. 11 Minnesota, 78-64, and feel-good No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast (see below) beat No. 7 San Diego State, 81-71 -- the first 15-seed ever to reach the Sweet 16. Now FGCU will face Florida in next round. Oh my. Click on Dunk City for a tribute video to Florida Gulf Coast. (All of our state teams didn't win, alas. Also last night, No. 8 UM women were one-and-done in their NCAA bid, losing to No. 9 Iowa, 69-53).

1aa1a26Heat d. Charlotte Bobcats, 109-77 -- OK I didn't manufacture any fake drama here. The Bobcats suck. Truly reek. But a 25-game winning streak makes every game huge when you are after the NBA record of 33, so the onus was on Team LeBron to not stumble. And they didn't. It's 26 now. And all you need to know about the degree of rout is that late-game sightings for Miami included James Jones and, yes, Juwan Howard. Another minute and I'd have been looking for Rory Sparrow to tear off his warmups.

Poll result: UM run bigger than Heat streak right now (but barely): We asked what was bigger right now, the Canes' NCAA run as a No. 2 seed or the Heat's record-seeking winning streak (you may still vote, in blogpost directly below), and UM was winning with 54.3 percent.

MADNESS BY THE NUMBERS (through Sunday; entering Sweet 16): A daily tracking of upsets and my bracket in the men's NCAA Tournament. Upset watch: Total games played so far--48, excluding play-ins. Upsets by seeding--14 (29.2%). Biggest upsets by seed in round of 64: 15-Florida Gulf Coast d. 2-Georgetown, 14-Hahvahd I mean Harvard d. 3-New Mexico. Biggest upsets in round of 32: 9-Wichita State d. 1-Gonzaga, 12-Oregon d. 4-St. Louis, 15-Florida Gulf Coast d. 7-San Diego State. My bracket: Sweet 16 teams still alive: 10 (L'ville, Duke, Ariz, OSU, K-State, Mich, Fla, Ind, 'Cuse and Miami). Biggest loss so far--Gonzaga, which I had reaching Elite Eight. I'm in fair shape overall. Guaranteed to have at least three teams in final eight, and could have as many as seven.

1aa1amandaMEET CINDERELLA: No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast certifiably is this NCAA Tournament's official Cinderella -- every March Madness must have one -- and, this year, Cinderella has a face. It is pictured right. She is Amanda Marcum, the wife 1aa1amanda2of FGCU coach Andy Enfield. Granted, this is not a Disney Cinderella. This is a Cinderella from a 16-year-old boy's dreams. Nevertheless! She used to be a model and has posed for the cover of Maxim and others mags. Amanda is now all Mom'd up (see left), but it's OK. We know who she is underneath it all. And FGCU won again last night -- so Cinderella lives!

MARLINS' EXPECTED AWFULNESS NOW OFFICIAL: Courtesy ESPN The Magazine's new MLB preview issue, Miami's Marlins will finish last in the NL East with a projection range of 60 to 74 wins. Only the Astros (54) have a lower downside on victories. The season begins a week from Monday, assuming the Marlins don't just say screw it and skip the whole thing.

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

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