The players have similar stories that the upcoming game against Florida underscores. Brown, for instance, grew up in Orlando and was a Florida fan all his life. Eddie Murray, the only Fort Myers native on the team, also was a Gator fan.
"It's funny how it's all worked out in playing them,'' Murray, a fifth-year senior, said. "When I first started here, we'd play after the women's game, and people would be filing out of the gym as our game started.
"Now, everywhere we go it's crazy."
Brown went to have lunch at his normal spot in the student center on Monday and ended up taking pictures with fans for 90 minutes. Some of those he took pictures with were donning new school shirts from the neighboring bookstore, which was undergoing its own issues.
As 156 people stood in line to buy the dwindling supply of apparel, the school's book store manager told others a new shipment was coming Tuesday.
"What time?" asked Ron Kaposos, who retired five years ago to Fort Myers from Hudson, Ohio.
When told the time was uncertain, Kaposos shrugged and said, "My grandsons called and said they want shirts for the game this week."
All this is evidence of the surprise sports can carry. Laviolette already heard from admission directors at other schools that spiked nationally through sports who say it will translate into a 20-percent increase in applications next year.
"You can't buy the kind of marketing and advertising we got from the past few days,'' Laviolette said. "We're all slammed right now in a good way by the reaction to it."
Laviolette plans to call his counterpart and friend at Florida.
"I want to make a little bet on the game,'' he said.
He smiles and, like a lot of people on campus these days, then says, "I never thought I'd get to say something like that."
Sweet 16 Schedule
No. 2 Miami vs. No. 3 Marquette, 7:15 p.m. Washington, D.C., CBS
No. 3 Florida vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast University, 10:07 p.m., Arlington, Texas, TBS