FGCU Makes School History in NCAA Tournament in 2013 The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles made school history this year when they went to the NCAA tournament for Division I play for the first time this year. To the applause of many at the school, the FGCU made it into the tournament. Not only did they exceed expectations with their appearance, but they made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen. They had to work their way through some of the most difficult circumstances to get to that point to. First, they were pitted as the underdog for the tournament, ranked 15 out of 16 for the south. Although every fan loves a good underdog upset, they know they can’t expect it, especially when the team is pitted against #2 Georgetown in the first round. Throughout the regular season, Georgetown showed the world that they could handle ranked teams, beating #11 UCLA, #24 North Dakota, #5 Louisville, #18 Marquette and #8 Syracuse (twice). Their record was only marred by one loss to #1 Indiana University, and that was in overtime. They were used to winning out in tough situations, so what was FGCU to them? They weren’t ranked coming in.
FGC-Who? They had 10 losses on the season, nearly all of which were to unranked teams that didn’t make it to the finals. Few people had high hopes of their ability to make it past the first round. It would be a miracle if they did. Miracles are real then, because they got through that first round without breaking much of a sweat. After a rough first half, where the lead passed off between teams and neither could get more than 7 points ahead at a time, FGCU kicked it into high gear and decided to get to work. Coming in with a 2 point lead, they fought hard. They gathered momentum and didn’t look back. They never lost the lead after that point and ended the game with a fantastic 78-68 win.
They did this to the applause of their fans and the groans of tournament brackets everywhere. They came from nothing (virtually unknown in the Division I conference) to beating Georgetown. How many schools can boast similar feats? Which leads FGCU into the next difficulty of getting through the tournament: not letting it get to your head. The press, attention, and sheer joy of victory quickly take your focus off the games to come and create an expectation of winning. Although they were still considered the underdog in the next game (#7 San Diego State), no one was looking at them as the underdog.
Tournament Underdogs Everyone was expecting another upset as people began to jump on board with FGCU. The pressure was intense for them to pull off another win. Much to the chagrin of San Diego, they were able to get their head in the game and pull out a win. They were doing the unthinkable. The media and fans were raving for FGCU by this point. They were going to the sweet 16 in their first Division I appearance ever. Some teams build for decades before they finally make it to this point, and yet here they were. Although they could not pull out a win against in-state rival Florida, they did the seemingly impossible. They won the games they were supposed to lose, and made an impression and expectation in the minds of college basketball fans everywhere. You can be sure everyone will have their eye out to see if they make it through next year too. Flying Colors supports the achievements of great schools like the FGCU. They rooted on in-state rival Miami with University of Miami t-shirts. They provided Miami fans with the University of Miami t-shirts they needed for the game. They continue to look for opportunities to support more schools with more apparel in the coming tournaments. Photo Credits: Jason Dean, Jaime Hagelstein, Gregory Moine