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NCAA bettors flock to Florida Gulf Coast

Since advancing to the region semifinals four days ago, joining schools with multiple national championships such as Indiana, Duke, Kansas, Louisville and tonight's opponent, Florida, no team has been as heavily bet to win this year's title as Florida Gulf Coast, according to the Las Vegas Hotel's Super Book.

"They've been by far the most popular team," LVH Super Book assistant manager Jeff Sherman said. "We opened them at 100-1 on Monday and they're down to 60-1. They have four times as many tickets as the second-closest teams, Oregon and Kansas."

Louisville remains the favorite to win the championship, with 3-1 odds at the LVH Super Book. Indiana is second at 9-2.

Tonight's game is getting the most Sweet 16 betting action, much of it small bets, said Mark Tutino, the race and sports supervisor at Caesars Palace.

"They're a fun team to watch," Tutino said of FGCU. "They're not like your Princetons and your surprise teams of the past. This team has some ballers, plays above the rim, and that adds to the excitement for them."

Meanwhile, FGCU athletic director Ken Kavanagh is worried about losing money on travel costs. He said he was relieved to break even on the first two games, in Philadelphia, and would be pleased to do the same in Arlington, Texas.

Gottlieb apologizes

NEW YORK — CBS analyst Doug Gottlieb got coverage of the Sweet 16 off to an awkward start, saying he was there to bring the "white man's perspective" to the network's pregame show.

Speaking on a panel with four African-American men, Gottlieb made his comment Thursday during a pregame segment, sparking criticism on Twitter.

"I don't know why you guys ask me, I'm just here to bring diversity to this set, give kind of the white man's perspective," he said during the show.

Gottlieb was still on set Thursday night and unavailable for comment but later issued a statement: "It was not a smart thing to say, and I apologize."

"He made a joke … and people are going crazy," fellow analyst Charles Barkley said later in the broadcast. "All those idiots on Twitter … all you people at home who've got no life and are talking bad about Doug Gottlieb, get a life. … It's no big deal."

Tubby smith opens up: The last thing Tubby Smith thought was going to happen was his dismissal as Minnesota coach. "You stay in this business long enough and things like this happen," he said in his first interview since receiving the news Monday, after losing to UF. Smith plans to coach again but will take his time. He plans to attend the Final Four, but not to discuss openings: "I'm going to take some time and think about what I want to do."

Michigan state: Point guard Keith Appling wore a brace over his injured right shoulder during Thursday's workout. The Spartans face Duke tonight.

For the haters: Grantland.com put together a bracket that features the most hated college basketball players over the past 30 years and includes one player in this year's NCAA Tournament: Ohio State's Aaron Craft. Unlike his team, the scrappy point guard didn't make it out of the first round, ousted by former Gator irritant Joakim Noah. Craft said he took the nomination as a backhanded compliment.

NCAA bettors flock to Florida Gulf Coast 03/28/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 29, 2013 1:12am]

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