2013 NCAA Tournament Preview: Florida Gulf Coast's Wild Ride

Lance King

Friday night will be the continuation of Florida Gulf Coast's wild ride. For the sake of fun, let's hope it continues

This is the kind of run you hope never ends. I wish there were more words to write about Florida Gulf Coast. I feel like they have all been used up over the last week.

The little article we wrote about them seems like months ago, and that was just because we sensed they were headed to the top of the Atlantic Sun Conference. We had no way of knowing that this run would continue like it has.

But now we all know about Andy Enfield's wife; we all know about Brett Comer; we all know about how this team has never really talked to the media and can't avoid dropping a few choice words when overcome with emotion.

I just really hope they are enjoying this run. We said how no one had seen Harvard coming, and how improbable it was that they made it as far as they did in the NCAA Tournament.

NO ONE SAW THIS!

Now, to give someone a little credit, Nate Crossman felt that they might contend for the Atlantic Sun title in his Blue Ribbon Yearbook preview -- and he was definitely in the minority. The Basketball Prospectus preview had the Eagles finishing fourth and waiting for next season (and this will be a team to contend with next year).

But Crossman was on this early. He said the key would be Comer:

If he can cut down on the turnovers and continue to distribute the ball the way he did last year, the Eagles should put up some big point totals.

He might not have cut the turnovers very much (almost 30 percent of his possessions), but he sure kept distributing the ball.

And look, it will be no secret what Florida Gulf Coast will attempt to do to Florida in this game. The Eagles did the one thing they could do to compete against the stiff defenses they faced in Georgetown and San Diego State. Florida will present another tough nut to crack. #DunkCity will have to be off and running again.

But it is one thing to come in and surprise everyone with your style of play. Remember how everyone wondered how this team finished second in the Atlantic Sun? Well, it is a lot different when you look at the schedule and laugh at "Florida Gulf Coast" and when you have a week to prepare for the formula that they used to take down the Hoyas and Aztecs.

The only hope for the Eagles is to keep it close and play into the unpredictability of those tight games, the ones that Florida hasn't won and that everyone has been blowing out of proportion with the "clutchness-factor" and the "can't win close games" talk as if it were an inevitability.

Florida can win this one if it is close. So can FGCU, and man, we hope it is the latter. There is no better story in America than this little team that could. This is the story that has everyone coming back even though their brackets are busted. Everyone wants to see another edition of the madness that is #DunkCity, and that will have a lot of people finding TBS on Friday night.

I hope they win because this team puts the fun back in basketball. They remind you of playing on the courts when you were a kid. This team doesn't care about the NBA, or grinding out every second of a possession in order to cut the game down to who can do best over 40 possessions. They care about having a blast out there.

There is no other excuse for spontaneous Chicken-Dancing.

There was a wise philosopher who once said:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

--Ferris Bueller

That man knew how to have fun and enjoy every minute. He had a pretty good day.

Here's hoping that Florida Gulf Coast has at least one more good day in them.

What: Florida Gulf Coast vs. Florida, South Regional Semifinal

Where: JerryWorld, Arlington, Texas

When: Friday, March 29, 2013, approx. 10:07 p.m.

Television: TBS

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