Florida Gulf Coast Becomes First 15th Seed to Reach the Sweet 16 (GIF)
When the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles beat the Georgetown Hoyas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night, they were not the first #15 team to beat a #2 team. Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, there had been six other occasions in which a team seeded #15 upset a team seeded #2 in the opening round:
- Richmond beat Syracuse in 1991
- Santa Clara beat Arizona in 1993
- Coppin State beat South Carolina in 1997
- Hampton beat Iowa State in 2001
- Norfolk State beat Missouri in 2012
- Lehigh beat Duke in 2012
However, every one of the previous #15-winners had their magical runs cut short. None of them had ever won a second game in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16.
Florida Gulf Coast, however, did just that.
The little known FGCU Eagles of the Atlantic Sun Conference—home to such illustrious basketball programs as Mercer, Stetson, Lipscomb, and Kennesaw State—beat the #7 San Diego State Aztecs 81-71 on Sunday evening in Philadelphia to become the lowest seed to ever advance to the Sweet 16. I mean, we’re talking about a school that only came into existence in 1997 and, therefore, a team that only became eligible for postseason play last year.
The best part? Since these guys aren’t really expected to do anything at all, they feel absolutely no pressure. That means they are having a really, really good time.
For example, do nervous, uptight teams perform celebratory chicken dances on the sidelines?
In any case, next up for the #15 FGCU Eagles is in-state “rival” and #3 seed Florida. Will the improbable streak continue? We’ll find out on Friday.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]