FGCU…the Best March Madness Story Ever?

Al Dannity | Updated Mar 25, 2013


Davidson with Steph Curry? Butler? When the Butler did it again? VCU wreaking havoc? That’s serious company. Al Dannity says what Florida Gulf Coast has done, and continues to do, in March Madness tops the lot.

They’re called the Eagles. I had to look it up. All most people knew about Florida Gulf Coast (FGCU) before the NCAA Tournament was that their coach was married to a former supermodel. They entered the Big Dance facing daunting odds, to say the least. This is their first ever appearance in March Madness, the Atlantic Sun Conference had recorded only three victories ever in March Madness, and none of those teams are still in the conference. Oh and of course, there was the small matter of the seed the Eagles drew. A 15 seed hadn’t beaten a 2 seed in…oh wait it happened twice last year…but still it doesn’t happen often. FGCU was an ant and Georgetown was a boot led by Otto Porter. This wasn’t meant to be remotely close. For most of the game it wasn’t. Dunk after dunk rained in. A defence was ripped asunder. The surprise of course was that it was FGCU bringing the pain. Then they went and did the same against San Diego State. It’s not just that they slayed Goliath, twice, they have done so in style. Just check out this compilation of their dunks. This isn’t some scrappy outfit, these guys can ball and nobody saw it coming.

Sure they beat Miami in November but they suffered double-digit losses to the three other tournament teams they faced. This is a team that lost to Lipscomb; twice. The groovy train this team is on started rolling when nobody was looking. Since February 28 the Eagles have rolled off seven straight double digit wins, five of them in win or your season is done games. Nobody noticed FGCU had hit a purple patch because nobody, this writer included, was watching the end of the Atlantic Sun regular season or even its tournament aside from the players’ friends and relatives.

In they walked to March with the swagger of a team that has been there, done that, crushed dreams of all before them and with good right. In the preceding two weeks they had done just that. The Eagles may be done by the weekend but is anyone taking them for granted? Florida has an awful record in close games. Now the Gators are trying to chomp a team that doesn’t let opponents get close. It’s the potential of what might happen next that makes FGCU such an amazing March Madness story. Everything they have done to date goes against all we know about the NCAA Tournament. In the Sweet Sixteen, anything could happen.

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