Florida Gulf Coast Eagles ready for Gators in 2013 NCAA Tournament South Regional semifinal

Somebody -- anybody -- tell me they saw this coming.

Seriously, who thought that No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast University was going to upset No. 2 Georgetown on Friday, and that the Eagles would continue their run on Sunday night with another "dunk down" on San Diego State University?

Well, believe it, and Florida Gators fans had better be ready come Friday night (9:07 p.m. tipoff CDT on TBS) in a Sweet 16 game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

PHOTO GALLERY of the Second and Third rounds of the NCAA Tournament (http://bit.ly/BBallpics)

It's hard not to root for this high-flying bunch from Fort Myers, Fla. -- who have easily become the talk of the tournament -- and their fast-paced offense is certainly fun to watch.

"That's just our style of play," 6-3 sophomore guard Brett Comer said after Sunday's win, a game where he passed out 14 assists and scored 10 points. "We want to push the ball down the court and we want to attack, attack, attack.

"That's what coach (Andy Enfield) wants us to do and we do a great job of doing that."

Against Georgetown, FGCU used a 21-2 run to take control, then scored 17 straight points against San Diego State University to knock the Aztecs out.

At times, Comer appears to just throw the ball up in the air, only to have one of his teammates come out of nowhere for a dunk. Going back over the play-by-play sheet from the two wins, it only shows FGCU with five dunks in each game, even though it seemed like twice that many.

Enfield admits his team has made great strides in the past six weeks.

"They have improved and made a big jump from the middle of the season," Enfield said Sunday night. "We had a couple of really bad losses (84-74 at Lipscomb Feb. 16, 80-71 at Stetson Feb. 22) ... and now we've won 14 out of 16.

"We're doing it at both ends -- we're defending and we're getting out and scoring."

FGCU goes with three-guard lineup -- Comer, 6-4 senior Sherwood Brown, 6-3 sophomore Bernard Thompson -- along with 6-9 sophomore Eric McKnight and 6-8 junior Chase Fielder.

Florida, of course, will counter with a defense that is very stingy. The Gators rank third nationally in scoring defense (53.8) and fifth in field goal defense (37.8 percent).

But will the Gators' defense or the fact the Eagles will be playing in front of the largest crowd they have ever seen -- the game could draw up to 41,614 fans -- bring this fun run to an end?

"They know how hard they have to play to beat the Florida Gators," Enfield said. "Florida's defense or its talent level, which is tremendous, might affect them, but they won't be affected by the size of the stadium."

And many of those fans, I'm sure, will be rooting for FGCU.

(Contact Mike Graham at mike.graham@scripps.com; Twitter: @TCPalmMGraham.)

Print this article Back to Top