Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

March 26, 2013

FGCU's rise worth broken bracket

Ah, where do I start? Less than 72 hours after I predicted the Hoyas of Georgetown would win the national championship and Otto Porter would solidify himself as a top pick in this year's draft, John Thompson III was outcoached and Georgetown was outplayed by some no-name team down South.

Or at the very least, that's what my mind was telling me as I uncomfortably withstood the ridicules of all those I was watching the tournament with on that forgettable Friday night.

Then I began to think about the upset and this Florida Gulf Coast team that made me, as least momentarily, the butt of all jokes. After further examination, the Eagles upset may very well cost me a first-place finish in multiple brackets, but I think it just may be worth it.

I mean, let's think about this for a second. Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Myers, has had a shorter existence on this Earth than I have. The school was founded in 1991.

Currently at the tender old age of 22, I was already 20 years old before the Eagles even had the opportunity to appear on a March Madness bracket. They joined the ranks of Division I hoops in 2007 and are currently in their second year of tournament eligibility. To add to that, the Eagles punched their ticket to the dance this season, their first in the brief history of the program, because they won the Atlantic Sun tournament.

That's right, FGCU, which manhandled the mighty Hoyas and looked as calm as ever in their destruction of San Diego State on Sunday, wouldn't have earned a berth in the tournament if it weren't for late-season heroics. This same team lost five conference games, including now-puzzling setbacks to teams like East Tennessee State and Lipscomb. Neither are bottom dwellers, but the Eagles' schedule as a whole should have never prepared FGCU for this kind of magical run to the Sweet Sixteen.

Text Only
Sports
  • Ryan.jpg Czachorski: Lunt the right man at QB

    There haven't been many times I've put pen to paper — or I guess more fittingly finger to keyboard — and written about the Illinois Fighting Illini.
    Part of it is due to their football team's struggles, as it's hard to have an opinion on them outside of "man, they went 1-7 in the Big 10 last year" or "I remember that one time they went to the Rose Bowl, but that's about it." Part of it is staying in my wheelhouse, which is MAC football and my alma mater Central Michigan Chippewas, a topic that doesn't concern many, if any, around here.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NeogaGresens.jpg Neoga prepares for upcoming volleyball season

    Another area team finds themselves with a new coach holding the clipboard this season.
    Susan Hutchinson is the new volleyball coach for the Neoga Indians, but she isn't new to the game of volleyball. Hutchinson coached at Mattoon for seven years when they were still in the Big 12 Conference. She said her new players had to get used to her coaching style very quickly.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bulldogs fifth at ISU

    St. Anthony took to the links for the second-straight day and had a strong showing at the Raider/Redbird Classic.
    The Bulldogs finished fifth among a 20-team field, shooting a 318. East Peoria shot a 312 to win it, Normal U-High and Lincoln each shot 315s with Normal winning the tie-breaker, and Bloomington took fourth with a 317.

    August 21, 2014

  • DonovanHammer.jpg St. Anthony will lead with speed

    For the last five years, Eric Morales has been the assistant coach of the St. Anthony Bulldogs soccer team. But this season he will have his chance at the helm and try to help lead the Bulldogs to their first regional title since 2010.
    St. Anthony is missing six seniors from last years team, including its leading goal scorer and starting goalie.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • JakeLinders.jpg Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational

    The Flaming Hearts of Effingham were the overall winners and also had the medalist. Effingham shot a team score of 312 to beat the host Bulldogs by nine shots. Hearts senior Jackson Wendling finished with a 72 to take medalist honors.

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Willenborg.jpg Teutopolis takes opener against St. Thomas More

    Teutopolis took the course with a new coach and four players, but as coach Becky Probst said, it takes four to score.
    And those four Lady Shoes took their first match of the year, topping Champaign St. Thomas More 216-227 in both teams' openers at Cardinal Golf Course in Effingham.

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • callawaysmith.jpg Time to tee off, golf season starts fall sports campaign today

    The fall sports campaign kicks off in earnest Monday afternoon, with the first area varsity contests being held in Windsor and Effingham this afternoon.
    The St. Anthony Invitational boys golf tournament will be held at Fox Prairie Golf Course at 1 p.m. in Windsor, while the Teutopolis Lady Shoes host St. Thomas More at Cardinal Golf Course at 4 p.m.

    August 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndrewBingham.jpg Flaming Hearts' flexibility a plus; Effingham prepping for upcoming soccer season

    Three days into the practice season, Effingham soccer coach Aaron Witges sees a lot of flexibility.
    It was something his squad had last year, with 10 seniors but young players forcing their way into the lineup as well.
    Coming off a 10-8-3 season, some of those young players will find themselves in new positions for the Flaming Hearts this season.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-16 eff volleyball.jpg Flaming Hearts set with new coach

    The Effingham Flaming Hearts volleyball team will have a new but familiar face leading them on the sideline this season.
    As a former player for the Hearts, coach Mindy McCollum-Boswell will look to lead her team to their first regional title since 2008.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ryan.jpg Czachorski: Bears backups worrisome

    This might sound shockingly similar to a number of columns I've written in the past, but it bears repeating (excusing a terrible pun).
    The quarterback situation is worrisome.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.