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Dunk City keeps on dancing: Florida Gulf Coast now first 15 seed in Sweet 16

Mar 24, 2013, 9:16 PM EDT

Florida Gulf Coast v San Diego State Getty Images

For the first time in the history of the NCAA tournament, a No. 15 seed is in the Sweet 16.

The Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast followed up their 10 point win over No. 2 seed Georgetown on Friday night by drubbing No. 7 seed San Diego State 81-71 on Sunday. FGCU used a 17-0 run late in the second half to push a 54-52 lead to 71-52, and the rout was on.

What makes this run so impressive isn’t simply that the Eagles made it to the Sweet 16, because that was going to happen eventually.

It was how they did it.

FGCU became a twitter meme. They became a hashtag. They were trending nationally twice in the span of three days. That ‘Dunk City’ moniker they’ve been given? That’s a result of the Eagles throwing alley-oop after alley-oop against two top 25 basketball programs. It’s one thing to be a Cinderella. It’s a totally different story to be the Cinderella that spends 40 minutes posterizing anyone in their way.

And that is what makes this story so special.

FGCU didn’t sneak their way into the Sweet 16 because of a fluke call or an untimely injury or because they had one player get hot for a weekend. They advanced through their South Region pod because, quite simply, they were the best team. They may not be done, either. Because the Eagles are good enough to keep advancing. They have two big-time scorers and quality shooters on the wing in Sherwood Brown and Bernard Thompson. They have a talented point guard in Brett Comer that is as good of a passer as you will find in the country and thrives in leading FGCU’s transition game. That’s matters because FGCU also has the kind of athletes up-and-down their front line that you rarely see at that level.

I mean, have you seen the dunks they’ve thrown down? Those are NBA caliber leapers. How often to you see a team from the Atlantic Sun straight demoralizing teams with NBA draft picks with their athleticism and offensive execution?

I’ll say it right now: this team has a chance to beat No. 3 seed Florida this weekend. Not a good one, mind you, because I think the Gators are a better team than Georgetown or San Diego State or Miami.

But I also think that FGCU is a team that thrives on momentum and energy, and that these performances were as much about their ability on the court as they were the fact that this group simply got on a roll the likes we’ve never seen before. Georgetown and San Diego State were both shook when FGCU went on a run. I can see Florida — and their back court of Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Scottie Wilbekin — having the same thing happen.

Regardless of what happens, this performance by FGCU is something that I will never forget. It’s something that we may never see again.

That Sweet 16 trip isn’t the only bit of history that FGCU made this weekend.

They are still the only undefeated team in the history of the NCAA tournament.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. hardballtalkusername - Mar 24, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Awesome, what an entertaining team to watch.

  2. arlingtonsynn - Mar 24, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    This team is why the Big Dance is the best thing about basketball period.

    Keep it dunking boys.

  3. flosox - Mar 24, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    Loving it! Go eagles! Bring the title to SW FL!

  4. creek0512 - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    They may just save college basketball from itself while they are dunking.

  5. staff2cj - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Da tournament is the 2nd best sporting event behind the superbowl….

  6. majorhavoc83 - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    FGCU has been incredibly entertaining to watch. You can tell that they love the game and they love to play together as a team. When these guys go on a run…watch out! They have been completely demoralizing their opponents with their steals, interior passing and alley oops. They got a tiny bit sloppy near the end of the San Diego game, but at that point the game was already decided.

    Can they beat Florida? They’re going to have to play well throughout the *whole* game because Florida’s guys are seriously good, too. If they can play they way they’ve been playing for the whole game, the Florida could be in a lot of trouble. I sure hope FGCU does take them down, but my gut tells me that Florida is going to win this one.

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