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Florida Gulf Coast made history Sunday night by beating San Diego State and becoming the first No. 15 seed in NCAA tournament history to make the Sweet 16. With how confident, explosive, and dominating they have been in two double-digit wins in this NCAA tournament, how could they possibly have ended up with that 15-seed?
Put simply, their resume in the regular season was deserving of it.
Florida Gulf Coast was 24-10 in the regular season and Atlantic Sun tournament, winning the conference tournament title and grabbing the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Eagles hadn’t even won the regular season conference title, losing out by a game to Mercer. They had an RPI of 106 and fell to 10-22 East Tennessee State and bottom-dwelling Lipscomb twice.
Looking at the other 15-seeds, their resume alone does not stand out. Albany also went 24-10 on the season. Pacific and Iona were both in the 100-range of RPI. Little did we know, we had a diamond sitting at the bottom of the South region.
Many are pointing now to the Eagles’ win over Miami early in the non-conference season as evidence that we could have seen something like this coming. While it was noteworthy, Miami then is not the Miami now and the Hurricanes were without guard Durand Scott for that loss. Had FGCU lost in the Round of 64 to Georgetown, one could just have easily pointed to the losses above or its loss to Maine as “proof” that it was just another 15-seed waiting to get knocked out.
But as we have learned this weekend, this is not a typical 15-seed. This is a team with an incredible amount of confidence and the capacity for the most exciting transition attack we’ve seen in the tournament. The Eagles now move on to face intrastate foe Florida. Though the hysteria of two big upsets wins still surrounds this team, we’re not sure exactly how they will play against the Gators. But that is something to worry about next week. Until then, they’ll just keep dancing:
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.
In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.
If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.
Arizona State fans won’t get a chance to see Torian Graham take the floor this season, but he did sky over fellow teammates (and transfer) Shannon Evans on Friday night at the team’s Maroon and Gold Madness. The 6-foot-4 Graham is a former Buffalo commit — Evans also came from Buffalo — and both players will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.
Graham hasn’t had a chance to get into a Division I game, but he’ll be able to play for the Sun Devils next season. For now, fans can look forward to Graham’s athleticism on the wing in pregame dunk routines.
A former top-100 prospect, Graham also pulled off this ridiculous move in the dunk contest.