Introducing Cinderella: FGCU Eagles headed to NCAA tournament

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
1 Comment

Conference: Atlantic Sun

Coach: Joe Dooley

Record: 26-7, 12-2 (1st)

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 112
RPI: 91
AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: FGCU’s RPI and a win over UT Arlington might be enough to get FGCU up to the 14 seed line.

Names you need to know: UCF transfer Brandon Goodwin is the best player on FGCU. He leads the team is scoring (18.2 points) and assists (3.9 apg) and is second in rebounding (4.7 rpg). But there is talent up and down this roster. Zach Johnson and Christian Terrell are both talented guards, Demetris Morant and Marc-Eddy Norelia are the kind of long, lanky athletes you expect out of a #DunkCity team, and Rayjon Tucker might be the best athlete in college basketball.

Stats you need to know: FGCU’s reputation is as an uptempo, run-and-gun team, but that’s not really who they are this season. They rank 296th in tempo and 224th in three-point shooting, but they pound the offensive glass and thrive on their ability to get the ball into the paint, off the bounce or off of a post touch.

Big wins, bad losses: FGCU’s best win on the season came against another mid-major powerhouse in UT Arlington. It’s their only top 100 RPI win on the season. The Eagles do have some bad losses, however, falling to the likes of Georgia Southern, Lipscomb and South Carolina Upstate at home.

How’d they get here?: FGCU steamrolled their way through the Atlantic Sun tournament, taking down a North Florida team that was led by Dallas Moore, the best player in the conference, in the title game.

Outlook: I’m wary of picking teams to upset top three seeds in the NCAA tournament when they struggle to shoot the three because, as you’ll hear a million times over the course of the next month, that’s the great equalizer. But I will say this: FGCU has been to the tournament in three of the last five years, they won’t be overwhelmed by the moment and they have enough guys on their roster that played high-major basketball before that they should know what to expect against a team from a bigger league. Stranger things have happened.

How do I know you?: Well … this: