Welcome back to BracketRacket, the one-stop shopping place for all your NCAA needs.
Today's edition includes a social media bracket, a touching moment between competitors and a little dance called the Larranaga Shuffle. Oh, and we've got Dickie V and his new rival, dolphins. Not the Dolphins, just dolphins.
SOCIAL MEDIA BRACKET
The advent of social media has added to the NCAA tournament experience, allowing fans to comment before, during and after every game, creating an extra buzz to March Madness.
But can social media have an impact on the games?
The answer is, maybe.
Using an algorithm it calls "Prime Buzz," the digital marketing company Prime Visibility tracked the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament to see if the buzz created on Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels reflected how the teams did on the court.
In other words, do teams with the greater amount of buzz win more games?
It seems so.
After tracking social media conversations from 24 hours before the start of games until the end of games in the first round, Prime Visibility found that 25 of the 32 teams with more buzz won, as did 11 of 16 in the second round.
The team that generated the most buzz was Florida Gulf Coast University, the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16, and the lowest was Northwestern State, which didn't make it out of the first round.
The highest discrepancy between teams was FGCU's 95.48 percent to 4.52 percent for San Diego State.
Check out the bracket here: http://bit.ly/16dYAEf
In the moments after Florida Gulf Coast knocked off San Diego State to reach the Sweet 16, Aztecs guard Jamaal Franklin didn't race off the floor. Instead, he tracked down FGCU's Sherwood Brown to give him congratulations in one of the weekend's more heartfelt moments.
Franklin hugged Brown as he gave him some words of encouragement, tapped him on the chest as he kept talking and hugged again before separating.
Here's the moment http://goo.gl/ZJrc4 and what Franklin had to say about it after:
"I just told him just keep being the leader that he is, make sure the ball is in his hands, make sure he does what he has to do to keep his team rolling," Franklin said during San Diego State's postgame news conference. "And just make sure they stay together because those guys we played against right now are just like us, they all love each other and they all play together. They just want to win. And you can see at the end of the game, a lot of teams win games and just leave the court, but they embraced it. They embraced it together, not just one another."
The day after Florida Gulf Coast's victory over San Diego State to reach NCAA tournament's Sweet 16, the News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., ran a large photo of the 15th-seeded Eagles celebrating with the headline: "SWEET 15!"
Turns out, sweet was a common theme in many headlines on Monday — at least for teams that won — as you can see in this link from Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard showing selected front pages from around the country: http://bit.ly/13q4FzT
Fox Sports also unleashed this headline: OMFG-CU! And no, it's not text-speak for something crass. It stands for Oh My, Florida Gulf Coast University!
DOIN' THE LARRANAGA
Miami coach Jim Larranaga asked his players to be fighters and they came through, clinching a spot in the Sweet 16. Once they did, Larranaga celebrated by his own version of the Muhammad Ali Shuffle, something we've dubbed "The Larranaga Shuffle." See his moves in this clip: http://bit.ly/10bC4Yz
And some more Hurricanes video, of senior Justin Gamble pulling off a video bomb: http://bit.ly/XChjE2
DICKIE V vs. DOLPHINS
ESPN analyst Dick Vitale did a lot of trash talking to some dolphins as he picked against them in a bracket challenge. http://bit.ly/YDgv1Q
OK, we know it's TV schtick, part of a promotion with Allstate.
Still, Dickie V has to be looking over his shoulder at this point.
The dolphins, from Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium, have picked 30 games correctly in this what's-going-to-happen-next tournament, just one behind Vitale. Among the dolphins' gets were Wichita State over top-seeded Gonzaga, Florida Gulf Coast over Georgetown and La Salle over Kansas State.
To be fair, Vitale is in better shape for the rest of the bracket. He has Louisville beating Indiana in the title game while the dolphins' Final Four teams have all been eliminated.
STAT OF THE DAY
You're bracket may be busted, but you're still watching.
Ratings for the NCAA tournament are the highest in 15 years and up 27 percent from last year. The broadcasts on CBC, TBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 5.8 household rating and 12 share, the highest rating for the tournament's first week since 1998. That year, the rating was 5.9 and 15 share.
The broadcasts also had the highest viewership since 1993, averaging 8.9 million total viewers — a 9 percent increase from a year ago.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Well, I'm glad I'm 62 instead of 42 right now. I think I can speak for all the commissioners — this is something that I don't think any of us enjoy. However we react is going to impact somebody else, and, look, it's been going on all the way to just about all the leagues. I don't think any of us think this is the highlight of our career experiences by any stretch." — Colonial Athletic Association Commissioner Tom Yeager after George Mason became the latest team to switch conferences by announcing it was leaving for the Atlantic-10.
Follow John Marshall on Twitter at http://twitter.com/johnmarshallap