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March 20, 2014

Sun pm 3-23: NCAA Cinderell-O-Meter at 27.1% entering Sweet 16, my bracket, Gators; plus Heat rips Heat, Moreno, haiku winner & more

1) It is SUNDAY, MARCH 23. Click on Random Evidence for today's latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with March Madness, but not the kind you think. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): March Madness Haiku Challenge entry portal, our Top 5 Pats/Patricks, Dolphins free-agency grade/Super Bowl odds & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

Gators whip Pitt, 61-45, reach Sweet 16: I'm up in Orlando with the Florida Gators in their NCAA Tournament regional and Florida looked and played more like the No. 1 seed it is today in easing past Pittsburgh, led by Scottie Wilbekin. Click on Problem Turned Solution for my column off the game centering on Wilbekin. I'd filed this column off Thursday's perfunctory opening win over 16th-seeded Albany. UF was top-ranked, had just won a 27th straight game and yet had more to prove. They're very good. But are they great? They looked closer to that today vs. Pitt. 

1aa1acinderellaUPDATED: NCAA CINDERELL-O-METER (PATENT PENDING) AT 27.1% AFTER 48 GAMES: Excluding the four even-seeded play-in games, which I try to ignore at every turn, there have now been 13 upsets (by seeding) in 48 NCAA Tournament games thus far, or a Cinderell-O-Meter reading of 27.1 percent. That includes all Thursday/Friday games and Saturday/Sunday games. We'll be updating the Cindy Meter here throughout March Madness. Ranking all 13 upsets thus far based on seed differential:

1. No 14-Mercer (over 3-Duke; +11)

2. 10-Stanford (over 2-Kansas; +8)

2. 11-Dayton (over 3-Syracuse; +8)

4. 8-Kentucky (over 1-Wichita State; +7)

4. 12-North Dakota State (over 5-Oklahoma; +7)

4. 12-Harvard (over 5-Cincinnati; +7)

4. 12-Stephen F. Austin (over 5-VCU; +7)

8. 7-UConn (over 2-Villanova; +5)

8. 11-Dayton (over 6-Ohio State; +5)

8. 11-Tennessee (over 6-UMass; +5)

11. 6-Baylor (over 3-Creighton; +3)

11. 10-Stanford (over 7-New Mexico; +3)

13. 9-Pitt (over 8-Colorado; +1)

UPDATE: MY BRACKET AT 35-13 WITH 9 ALIVE IN SWEET 16; YOU?: I know that I wrote a Curmudgeonly Anti-Bracket Column last week (somewhat in jest), but I do have a bracket in an office pool. Just one. I opened a nifty 13-3 on Thursday, my wins including two nice little upset picks with W's by 12-Harvard and 11-Dayton, and a third upset if you count 9-Pitt. I rallied Friday to also go 13-3 for a total of 26-6 entering the weekend. My most notable upset pick Friday was an advance by 12-Stephen F. Austin. I was 5-3 on the survival meter in Saturday games and 4-4 on Sunday. As we pause and await the Sweet 16, I have nine teams still alive in my bracket: Florida, UCLA, Virginia, Michigan State, Iowa State, Arizona, Wisconsin, Louisville and Michigan.

"WE SUCK." LEBRON, BOSH RIP HEAT: Heat loss to Pelicans last night was Miami's seventh in past 11 games, and I'm not sure what's more shocking. That slump. Or there being an NBA team named "Pelicans." OK, it's that slump, and the slumpers aren't taking it well. I haven't heard words like this out of the Big 3-era Heat since 2010-11. "We suck," said Chris Bosh. "There is no passion. There's nothing." LeBron: "Too many excuses. Everything is an excuse. It's very frustrating. We're all frustrated." Coach Erik Spoelstra may have understated it in saying, "Our lockerroom is angry."

1aa1akmorenoLOVING DOLPHINS' INTEREST IN MORENO: Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas might be OK, may be good enough. But I love that Miami thinks it can do better at running back and is looking at Denver free agent Knowshon Moreno, who visits today. Moreno rushed for 1,038 yards and 10 TDs last season. Yeah, it helps when defenses are so consumed by Peyton Manning that stopping the run is seldom a priority. Still, Moreno is good. He's compact, built for short-yardage conversions. He's in his prime at 26. He pass-blocks well. And he's a dual threat who caught 60 passes last year. Hope they get him. (Interesting Fins didn't target LeGarrette Blount instead, since GM Dennis Hickey knew him from their Tampa Bay days).

VOGELSBERG IS MAYOR OF BRACKETVILLE: Scott Vogelsberg is the winner of our blog's 9th annual March Madness Haiku Challenge. His winning entry: "Beware Ides of March * Et tu Brutus the Buckeye * Bubbles pop for all." The judges appreciated the classic 5-7-5 phrasing, liked the nod to the Roman calendar, loved the link between Ohio State and Shakespeare, and also enjoyed the double entendre on bubbles popping. Three Honorable Mentions go to Hukk (Madness Flies Away), Michael (Furious Study) and J.C. (White Whale). Special mention as well to 3Pete, Big Baby, Frydad4, Neal S. and Original VT, all of whom also placed haikus in the final round of consideration. Aside to Mayor Vogelsberg: Email me at gcote@miamiherald.com with your choice of prizes listed in the previous blogpost. Thanks to all for playing. Even those of you who were confounded by the idea of 17 syllables, and others of you who veered from the template and waxed haiku-ish on the Dolphins and other unauthorized subjects.

1aa1asprite6mixLEBRON JAMES IS DOC PEMBERTON OF NBA: Historical aside. Dr. John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola. Now Coke product Sprite is rolling out a limited-edition soda called "Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James." Picture LeBron in a white lab coat painstakingly experimenting with various flavor combinations before hitting upon the winner: Sprite's traditional lemon-lime flavor but with hints of orange and cherry. "I never imagined I would have my own flavor someday," said James. Dream big, King. Dream big.

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