Hours after his team won the Atlantic Sun tournament to make the NCAA tournament in just its second year of eligibility, Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield weighed in on the seed he thought the Eagles deserved.
"I don't see how we're a 15 or 16 seed," he said. "I think we need to be higher than that based on the season we've had and the teams we've beaten."
Florida Gulf Coast received a No. 15 seed on Selection Sunday despite Enfield's protests, but the Eagles proved their coach's point five nights later. They became the seventh No. 15 seed ever to win an NCAA tournament game on Friday night, adding to Georgetown's recent history of March misery with a 78-68 opening-round upset.
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Unlike last year's stunners by No. 15 seeds Lehigh and Norfolk State, this one didn't even really come down to the final possession. Behind 24 points from Atlantic Sun player of the year Sherwood Brown and 23 from fellow guard Bernard Thompson, Florida Gulf Coast extended a two-point halftime lead to as many as 19 points and never let the Hoyas any closer than four points down the stretch.
"I told our team before the game that Georgetown is ranked eighth in the country, but after you get out on the court for two or three minutes you're going to realize that you're just as good if not better than this team, and we did that," Enfield told reporters after the game. "We didn't play great in the first half, but I think we realized, hey, if we play, we can win this game."
The historic upset by Florida Gulf Coast is merely the latest remarkable chapter in Enfield's charmed life story. The former elite shooter at Division III Johns Hopkins has enjoyed success as an entrepreneur, married a lingerie and bathing suit model and risen in his current industry from skill instructor, to NBA assistant to college head coach.
Building Florida Gulf Coast into a winner only two years into his tenure and only six years after it began its transition to Division I may be Enfield's greatest achievement. The Eagles lost 20 0r more games under predecessor Dave Balza each of their first four seasons in Division I, but Enfield led them to a respectable 15-17 record last season and to 24 wins in the regular season this year.
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