Florida Gulf Coast reaches Sweet 16
Even if you picked Georgetown to make this year’s Final Four in your office March Madness pool, it’s difficult not to be rooting for Florida Gulf Coast University, which became the first No. 15-seed ever to reach the Sweet 16 after the high-flying Eagles upset the No. 2-seed Hoyas and No. 7 San Diego State. FGCU has a thousand great underdog storylines, beginning with the fact that every one of its players is older than the college itself, which only opened its doors in Fort Myers in 1997. The Eagles’ coach, Andy Enfield, built an impressive professional and college coaching resume upon his shooting expertise — he was a record-breaking scorer at Johns Hopkins University, where he set NCAA marks as a free-throw shooter — but this is only his second year as a head coach. For leading the Eagles to their first NCAA Tournament, FGCU presented him with a bonus of… $5,000, a paltry sum in the world of top-tier NCAA basketball coaches. Fortunately for Enfield, he cashed out of a lucrative Wall Street job before re-entering the coaching ranks and money isn’t a huge issue. (Of course, there’s also the matter of his attractive model wife…)
But all that is background noise to what the Eagles have been doing on the court. They aren’t just beating more famous teams; they’re beating more famous teams: Out-shooting them, out-hustling them, and most certainly out-jumping them. In two NCAA Tournament games, they’ve padded their highlight reel with enough amazing alley-oops and powerful slam dunks to wallpaper an entire college dorm room with posters of spectacular slams. Only the Eagles aren’t surprised, as they are playing the game with absolutely no fear, wagging their tongues after draining threes, celebrating rim-rattling jams with a chicken dance, and crowing about life in “Dunk City,” their nickname for Fort Myers.
For their Cinderella success, they’re rewarded with a date with powerhouse Florida later this week, the ultimate in-state Goliath to their David. Against the heavily-favored Gators, FGCU is like the Hickory Huskers from Hoosiers, that is if Jimmy Chitwood could break a team’s back with a fast-break alley-oop dunk.
Check out the “Dunk City” music video below — come for the mad rhymes, stay for the real game highlights.