Rushed Reactions: #15 Florida Gulf Coast 81, #7 San Diego State 71Posted by Brian Otskey on March 24th, 2013
Brian Otskey (@botskey) is in Philadelphia for tonight’s Third Round NCAA Tournament games and filed this report after Florida Gulf Coast’s victory over San Diego State.
Three key takeaways:
- History. For the first time in the 75-year history of the NCAA Tournament, a No. 15 seed has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Florida Gulf Coast, a little-known school from Fort Meyers, has advanced to play the Florida Gators in Arlington later this week. This team absolutely dismantled two very good teams on its way, Georgetown and San Diego State. Regardless of what happens against the Gators, this will go down as one of, if not the most improbable runs in the history of the NCAA Tournament.
- Florida Gulf Coast played its style and never let up. Head coach Andy Enfield said after the Georgetown game that he told his team to play “FGCU basketball.” That’s exactly what it did tonight. The Eagles pushed the pace and showed no fear in taking it right to San Diego State. Florida Gulf Coast forced 17 turnovers and turned them into 22 points, a key to any team that prefers an up-tempo style. This game quickly snowballed out of control for San Diego State and the Eagles never gave it a chance to recover or make a run at them late in the game. It was total FGCU dominance down the stretch.
- You can’t fault San Diego State. The Aztecs were in this game for most of it but simply ran into a buzz saw with nothing to lose over the final 10 minutes of the game. Steve Fisher’s club put up 71 points but just was overwhelmed by the Eagles. Florida Gulf Coast went on a 17-0 run in the second half that sealed it, fueled by the energy of this crowd and their own incredible confidence. It was a dominating second half, one in which San Diego State had no chance after
Star of the Game: Brett Comer, Florida Gulf Coast. Austin Rivers’ former high school teammate is making quite the name for himself. Comer electrified the Philadelphia crowd once again by pushing the pace and making some incredible passes along the way. Comer controlled the tempo of the game and recorded 14 assists to just three turnovers. How this kid slipped through the recruiting cracks is anyone’s guess. Given the way he played in these two games, Comer would have a spot on almost any major conference team.
Quotable: Florida Gulf Coast head coach Andy Enfield’s opening statement: “We’re going to the Sweet Sixteen!” To that, he added nothing. Indeed, that is all that needs to be said.
Sights and Sounds: Aside from one section of San Diego State fans who, I might add, applauded Florida Gulf Coast after the game, the entire crowd at the Wells Fargo Center joined the Eagles fans as you might expect. With every dunk and Comer pass, the crowd grew more electric. The players said after the game that they fed off the crowd’s energy. When they get to Arlington, Florida Gulf Coast will surely have more folks on its bandwagon.
What’s Next: After making history, Florida Gulf Coast advances to the Sweet Sixteen in Arlington, Texas where it will take on third-seeded Florida on Friday night.