March Madness Round of 16: Florida Gulf Coast is Necessary Viewing

As I waited for the Duke/Creighton game to wrap up last night, I couldn’t help but wonder just how much basketball I’ve watched over the past few days. I don’t consider myself a huge hoops fan, but March Madness is the one time of year when I cannot get enough of it. That’s why I attempted to watch some of every game that was played.


But if you asked me to tell you about those games in great detail, I probably couldn’t provide too many lengthy narratives. At any given time during the day or evening, there have been a handful of games on at once. To watch as many games as possible, I had to constantly flip around the dial, taking in about five minutes of a game at a time. Notice the score of another game getting close near the end? Change the channel. Half time rolls around? Switch again. Upset in the works? Change once more.


I’ve found out that this is kind of a crappy way to “enjoy” the tournament and my head is still spinning. I didn’t allow much to sink in. Well, other than this, which was kind of tough to ignore.


But even though I’ve forgotten more basketball than I’ve remembered in the past few days, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty to appreciate. The tourney has been a blast so far because of the unpredictable nature of it all. If I’ve counted correctly, there have been 15 upsets and two of them were accomplished by a little school called Florida Gulf Coast University.


The Eagles have been an easy team to notice, and that’s not just because their coach is married to an Über babe super model and their most notable alumna is a monster truck driver/Swamp Buggy Queen (baffled but excited to learn what that is - Ed). No, Florida Gulf Coast has garnered a ton of attention because they’re rewriting the tournament history book as they go along. According the ESPN Stats and Info, Florida Gulf Coast is the only undefeated team in NCAA Tournament history. They are also the first No. 15 seed to ever reach the Sweet 16.


This scrappy squad shocked the sports world when they knocked off No. 2 seed Georgetown on Friday. That game collectively ruined countless accumulators all around planet earth, but you won’t see too many people complaining. The sheer joy on the faces of the Eagles players was worth seeing, even if that meant the crafty bastards at William Hill had swanned off with your wonga once again.


After Florida Gulf Coast took down Georgetown, they went on to pull their second upset against No. 7 seed San Diego State. This wasn’t as surprising considering their first win, but now it looks like they could make a serious run as the field gets whittled down.


That’s why you need to be following the Eagles for the remainder of the tourney. Your next chance will be on Friday when they take on the Florida Gators, a No. 3 seed that easily handled the first two teams they played. It’ll be tough for FGCU to come out on top, but fear of getting knocked out can be a tremendous motivator.


Now that there are only 16 teams left, the viewing should be easier and the action will only get more intense from here on out. So get out to those pubs and enjoy every remaining second of the tournament.


And do your best to remember some of it.

Pete Dombrosky


Stuck for a pub to watch March Madness in the UK? Why not try our list of bars showing March Madness?