Well, it’s all over for America’s favorite Cinderella team. Florida Gulf Coast University was stomped 62-50 by the University of Florida Friday.

I think many of us enjoyed the on-court antics of the cool guys from FGCU. I’m not sure who I’ll pull for now…

NEWS-PRESS

Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

After an amazing run of front pages and special coverage (see here, here and here), the News-Press of Fort Myers covered FGCU’s loss with equal aplomb.

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You probably didn’t see that today, because that was a wrap around the A section. The picture is by staffer Andrew West. The design is by Michael Babin, the Florida design team leader at Gannett’s Nashville design studio.

Here’s the front page that was posted at the Newseum today.

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The photos of local fans enjoy the game are by staffers Jack Hardman and Sarah Coward.

NAPLES DAILY NEWS

Naples, Fla.

Circulation: 45,136

The folks down the road in Naples also put a shooter in Texas this week. Instead of the amazing celebration shot the Daily News probably hoped for today, however, it led with a picture of a dejected FGCU team trudging back to its locker room.

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The picture is by staffer Scott McIntyre.

HERALD-TRIBUNE

Sarasota, Fla.

Circulation: 63,864

Sarasota went with an Associated Press picture by Tony Gutierrez.

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TAMPA BAY TIMES

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Circulation: 299,497

St. Pete also went with wire art — this one’s from MCT.

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However, the folks at the Times may have come up with the best Florida Gulf Coast headline of the day.

GAINESVILLE SUN

Gainesville, Fla.

Circulation: 29,583

Meanwhile — inland, just a bit — the scrappy Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast got no sympathy at all in the home town of the Florida Gators.

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That picture is by Sun staffer Matt Stamey.

DETROIT FREE PRESS

Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

While that Florida Gulf Coast loss was heartbreaking, it wasn’t exactly close. The Michigan win over Kansas? Now, that was close.

The magic moment was an impossible three-point shot at the end of regulation time that sent the game into overtime.

Neither of the Detroit papers did much with the game on page one — it was shoved into the skybox — but here’s today’s Free Press sports front, designed by Ryan Ford.

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The lead picture is by staffer Julian H. Gonzalez.

JOURNAL-WORLD

Lawrence, Kan.

Circulation: 27,719

The folks from Kansas, however, were completely stunned. As you might expect.

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That photo is by Journal-World staffer Mike Yoder.

KANSAS CITY STAR

Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

The Kansas City Star, too, focused on Jayhawk shock.

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That picture was made by staffer Shane Keyser.

COURIER-JOURNAL

Louisville, Ky.

Circulation: 154,033

Notice how most papers tend to lead with reaction shots, pictures of teams walking off the court and so on. The intent is to focus on emotion and on personalities. Which are good things to do.

Sometimes, however, I miss a good action shot on page one. Because that’s what the game is all about, right? The actual game?

Case in point: Check out this great action picture by the Courier-Journal’s Michael Clevenger.

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Great stuff.

HERALD-SUN

Durham, N.C.

Circulation: 21,367

Here’s another one:

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That picture is by Herald-Sun staffer Bernard Thomas.

LANSING STATE JOURNAL

Lansing, Mich.

Circulation: 41,330

I applaud the Lansing paper for opting to put game action — as opposed to reaction — on page one….

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…but I have to question the choice of that particular picture. Generally, it’s best to use an action picture in which we can see someone’s face. Please refer to the two previous examples.

The photo is by staffer Rod Sandford.

MACOMB DAILY

Macomb, Mich.

Circulation: 54,419

Here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before: A page-one ad… embedded into the lead package.

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Wow. How unusual.

I sure hope that trend doesn’t spread.

INDIANAPOLIS STAR

Indianapolis, Ind.

Circulation: 164,640

And in Indianapolis, the Star opted to focus on referees.

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The picture of a zebra stretching before a game is by staffer Matt Detrich.

POST-STANDARD

Syracuse, N.Y.

Circulation: 78,616

I couldn’t find enough motivation to post the various skybox treatments for March Madness thsi time around. I’ve not seen many that really excited me.

This one, however, struck me as particularly attractive.

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NEW YORK POST

New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 555,327

And, in a similar vein, the New York Post suddenly discovered today that Syracuse is located in their state.

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Now, that’s enough about today’s pages. Let’s end this post back where we started — with the…

NEWS-PRESS

Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

The aforementioned Michael Babin of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville was kind enough to send me today’s wrap front — I led today’s post with it — as well as the 16-page special section the News-Press published Friday.

He went sideways with staffer Kinfay Moroti‘s gorgeous shot of practice in the venue.

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In order to save you from straining your neck, here’s that same page oriented so you can read it. Click it — or any of these special section pages — for an extra-large view.

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Michael tells us he and staffer Melissa Koenigsberg designed the section.

Page two features a fun illustration by Doug McGregor.

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Page three holds a great graphic by staffers Scott Sleeper, Craig Handel and Michael Donlan on the Dallas Cowboys Stadium where Friday’s game was played.

Again, here’s another look at the same page.

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The graphic focuses mainly on scale. Cowboys’ stadium is so much bigger than anything Florida Gulf Coast has ever been associated with before.

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That’s FGCU’s entire basketball area. Tucked neatly onto the playing surface at Cowboys Stadium.

Pages four and five served as a detailed breakdown of the upcoming game with Florida.

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Pages six and seven zero contain a selection of sidebar-like material…

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…including a large takeout on the school’s assistant coaches.

Here is the center spread on pages eight and nine. Eight serves as a rundown on the players of both teams.

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Nine is a closer look at Florida.

Ten looks at other times Florida and Florida Gulf Coast have met in competition. The lead art shows a big women’s softball win over Florida last year.

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The half-page on 12 is a bit of wishful thinking: It’s a look at Michigan, who the folks in Fort Myers (correctly) thought would beat Kansas and might serve as FGCU’s next opponent.

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Full-page ads occupy 13, 14 and 15.

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And the back page gives a little perspective on the school. The file art shows the day before the school’s first basketball game in 2002.

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With the exception of the Fort Myers material and the Detroit sports front, all of these front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

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