State Colleges

Florida Gulf Coast brings ‘Dunk City’ back to NCAA Tournament

Florida Gulf Coast players celebrate around the Atlantic Sun Championship trophy after defeating Stetson in the NCAA college Atlantic Sun Basketball championship game Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Fort Myers, Fla.
Florida Gulf Coast players celebrate around the Atlantic Sun Championship trophy after defeating Stetson in the NCAA college Atlantic Sun Basketball championship game Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Fort Myers, Fla. Naples Daily News via AP

Dunk City is back.

Florida Gulf Coast University (20-13) will meet Fairleigh Dickinson in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday in the opening game of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

FGCU returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the Eagles captured the nation’s attention during the 2013 tournament with upsets of No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State. Florida Gulf Coast became the first 15th seed to ever make the Sweet 16, where it fell to Florida.

Joe Dooley now paces the sidelines for the Eagles, who earned their second NCAA Tournament bid with a 80-78 overtime win over Stetson in the Atlantic Sun championship game. FGCU will meet the Northeast Conference champs in the First Four play-in game at 6:40 p.m. on Tuesday. The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights finished 18-14 in the regular season before grabbing their fifth NCAA Tournament berth and first since 2005.

“Obviously we’re excited,” said Dooley in a press conference Sunday evening. “I said to our guys, it was a long time coming waiting but at least we knew we were in the tournament so we weren’t sweating it out like some other people.”

Should FGCU move past Farleigh Dickinson, they’ll face the No. 1-seeded Tar Heels at 7:20 p.m. on Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina. A victory there doesn’t seem likely. Top-seeded teams in the NCAA Tournament are 124-0 against No. 16 seeds. If the Eagles can pull off the most improbable of upsets, they’re likely to face their former coach, Andy Enfield, and USC in the round of 32. That story’s so good, Hollywood would have a script ready before Enfield got back to L.A.

 

FSU IN NIT

Florida State (19-13) earned a No. 4 seed in the 2016 National Invitational Tournament. The Seminoles will take on fifth-seeded Davidson (20-12) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the first round. If they advance, FSU would take on the winner of the matchup between No. 1 Valparaiso and No. 8 Texas Southern.

The Seminoles went 8-10 in the ACC and finished 52nd in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings.

Georgia, Belmont, Saint Mary’s and New Mexico State round out the Seminoles’ region in the NIT.

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