Monday, March 25, 2013

BUCKET BRACKETS102: Cinderella in Blue

Johnny J

The Sweet Sixteen, welcomes its first 15th seeded team, the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast. After miraculously beating number two seed Georgetown on Friday, they came out with the same intensity and attitude on Sunday, beating San Diego State 81-71 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. It was a few upsets, that happened this weekend, including one of the four number one seeds falling. But right now, I would like to answer the question that a lot of people have been wondering: Who exactly is Florida Gulf Coast?

The Eagles are from the Atlantic Sun Conference, a conference in which, of course, they had to win their Conference Tournament  in order to make the "big dance."  As I was doing research on this program, I found out this is their sixth year in Division 1-A and just their second year of eligibility for the postseason. I didn't know them before, but I definitely know them now. Whenever you come in the tournament and beat a heavy-weight in your first appearence, you have awakened everybody--and I mean everybody! George Mason's Final Four appearance in 2006 is still being discussed. It was just one of the greatest runs by an unknown team in college hoops' history. How about when Lehigh beat Duke in 2012, or when Northern Iowa beat the number one seed overall, Kansas in 2010. Welcome to the NCAA history books FGCU, you're a team that will be talked about for years to come.

"It's an unbelievable feeling. We played a very tough team in Georgetown. They have great players. They're a historic school," forward Chase Fieler said. "So being a newer school it's very exciting for us to be able to win a game like that and for the NCAA history. That's exciting and impressive to be a part of that."

Eagles Guard Brett Comer had a sick game, scoring 10 points and dishing out 14 assists. As rapper E-40 would say, " Sick Wid It." Comer is a former highschool teammate of Austin Rivers, who now plays for the New Orlean Hornets. So it wasn't surprising to see him cheer his former teammate on Twitter:

So how exactly does FGCU get it done? By playing with a fast pased uptempo style. According to senior  Fieler, they like to run.

"We just tried to keep a steady pace and tried to wear them down. We think we can play with anybody in the country," Fieler said. "When we got the running game going it felt like a home game."

Its an interesting story behind the recruiting of the Eagles. Some of the players, including Comer, were recruited by coach Andy Enfield at a hospital in Tallahassee. Yes a hospital!  His wife was giving birth to their third child and Enfield was making pitches to students from all over on the phone.

“You gotta put your phone down,” Amanda Marcum shouted at her husband as she was about to go in for a C-section. “We’re about to go in and have a baby.”

As soon as Marcum was finished delivering the baby, Enfield was in the recovery room and he was back on the phone pitching Florida Gulf Coast to several players and coaches.

This team has the right attitude, all the way from the coaches down to the players. I can't wait to see them play, "THE" Florida Gators on Friday March 29th in Arlington, Texas. The crowd is going to be all Florida. Fans from both sides, but literally all Florida.  Oh yes: did I mention that the not highly recruited team of FGCU may have something to prove? Cinderella didn't wear white this weekend, rather she showed up to the party in blue instead. According to ESPN's brackets, nobody expected that to happen. Big Statement!

More NCAA is available here

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