In the third installment of our 20ish-part series, Get to Know an Auto-Bid, we examine the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, aka Dunk City.
FGCU clinched their third all-time bid with a 77-61 win over North Florida in the Atlantic Sun Championship Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles finished the season with a 26-7 record and a 12-2 Atlantic-Sun mark, which allowed them to clinch the regular season championship and home court throughout the conference tournament.
Florida Gulf Coast’s best win of the season is a 13-point home victory vs. UT-Arlington, a team who will most likely be an 11 or 12 seed if they are able to win the Sun Belt as they are expected.
Although the Eagles did not have a signature win over a power conference school, they had a near-miss at Michigan State as the Spartans escaped the a one-point victory. FGCU was also very competitive in a loss to Baylor.
FGCU has four players that average at least 10 points per game, but Brandon Goodwin leads the squad with 18.2 ppg. The junior also leads the team in assists with 3.9 per game. Demetris Morant leads the Eagles with eight rebounds per game.
This is FGCU’s second consecutive trip to the tournament. A season ago, they were slotted as a 16-seed and faced off with North Carolina in the first round. The Eagles actually gave the Tar Heels a bit of a scare as they had a lead in the first few minutes of the second half, but UNC pulled away for a big victory.
Although the Eagles put forth one of the more competitive efforts from a 16 seed last season, Florida Gulf Coast is known for their Sweet 16 run in 2013 that saw the emergence of Dunk City.
2013 marked FGCU’s first appearance in the tournament in just their second year eligible as they had transitioned to Division I in 2007.
In the days leading up to FGCU’s first game in the tournament, the fact that the school existed was a revelation for some, but their Sports Recreation major received a lot of attention.
Yes, that is their campus….
For those unfamiliar, part of the major includes prepping to become a jet ski, kayak, and water skiing instructor and they train in the on-campus lake…not a bad gig.
Days later, however, it was FGCU’s play on the court that was stealing national headlines.
The Eagles were a 15 seed and defeated Georgetown and San Diego State in the first two rounds in impressive fashion before falling to Florida in the Sweet 16.
Although no players remain on the roster from that 2013 squad, the Eagles still boast some high flyers on the team. The Otter Room official bracket projections currently have FGCU as a 14 seed, but there is not a high-seeded team that wants to see the Eagles pop up next to them on the bracket next Sunday.