Florida Gulf Coast: This year’s Cinderella among the Madness
According to ESPN Stats & Info, that’s the percentage of ESPN’s 8.15 million brackets in which Florida Gulf Coast University was selected to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Less than one percent, yet here they are.
At this point, it’s clear the FGCU Eagles aren’t just getting lucky. There’s a Cinderella story in March Madness every year, but this team feels different. This team, you can’t possibly root against. It’s only their second year being eligible for the NCAA Tournament.
They took down 2-seeded Georgetown in the first round for the initial shocker. A 78-68 final; who is this team most hadn’t heard of taking down Georgetown? After the win, hits on FGCU’s admissions page went up 431 percent from the day before. See, good sports programs are beneficial to schools as a whole.
Then came the next round against San Diego State, a 7-seed. It’s not Georgetown, but hey, anyone who thought the first round win was flukey could surely have their doubts answered here.
And those doubts were answered, and FGCU took down another higher-seeded opponent by ten points, this time with an 81-71 final. And then the tweets came, from actors and media to rappers and pro athletes; everyone was watching FGCU.
So what’s next for the Eagles? A Florida vs. Florida matchup against 3-seeded Florida. Florida has to be favorited, even with FGCU’s run of late, but will anyone aside from their own fans actually be rooting for them. I have Florida in the Elite Eight of my own bracket, but I’ll be rooting for FGCU like no other.
Runs like this are what makes sports great. Because you find out pieces of information like this:
Yup, we’ve got an Sweet Sixteen team that had walk-on tryouts, and that’s awesome. How can you not be excited for this team, this school? Sure, they’ve become somewhat of media darlings. But why not? This is why it’s “madness” after all. The first ever 15-seed to make it to the Sweet Sixteen in the history of the tournament deserves all this attention.