Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


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
  • 4-22Ziegler.jpg Ziegler's choice an easy one

    Lake Land College’s Grace Ziegler had a choice after her two years playing were up.
    The Altamont alumna basically whittled her options down to this: continue to play basketball collegiately at a four-year institution, or transfer to a four-year institution to have a traditional college student experience.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vonderheid.jpg Vonderheide, W/SS win at Charleston 12-0

    Christian Vonderheide had the luxury of choosing which was better.
    It was either the grand slam, or a complete game shutout thrown by the right hander.
    “They are both pretty equal,” Vonderheide said. “Pitching is more of my thing. The grand slam I got lucky. I swung hard, and I was lucky enough for it to go over the fence."
    The win could be more important as Windsor/Stew-Stras pounded a 12-0 win over Charleston at CHS Field.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • czachorskimug.jpg Czachorski: Time to catch Cup fever

    I woke up early Friday morning and did something I never do these days -- I flipped on SportsCenter.
    It was the top of the 7 a.m. hour, and unshockingly, ESPN led with discussion of the playoffs.
    What left me flabbergasted was they were leading with the NHL playoffs, as I was truly unaware ESPN remembered that hockey was a sport.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • White2.jpg Indians' bats too much for Eagles

    An 11 a.m. start on Good Friday wasn't too early for Altamont, as the Indians pushed 10 across in the first frame and bested Newton 16-1 in five innings.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Schultz.jpg Power surge: Homers help Shoes beat Comets 8-4

    Teutopolis broke open a close game with four home runs and remained undefeated with an 8-4 win over Stew-Stras/Windsor Thursday afternoon.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Cutts.jpg Cutts carries Cumberland to 4-3 win

    His first three hits were no doubters, but Blayke Cutts’ fourth hit on Thursday was a high bouncer over the glove of Olney third baseman Peyton Billington to win in a walk-off.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • McNamee.jpg McNamee: Questions about EIU's Jimmy G

    The typical phrase used in situations like this, I think, is: “He shows potential.” I may not have believed anything I was saying, but at least he was in line to be a four-year starter; at least, he had that.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Booker.jpg Pirates push past Flaming Hearts 10-2

    It took a bit for the bats to warm up, but Cumberland made the necessary adjustments at the plate and took down Effingham 10-2 Wednesday afternoon.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bohnhoff.jpg Newton walks off against Dieterich

    For the second straight game, Newton earned a win via the walkoff, this time as Caleb Chesnut drove in the game-winning run with two outs to down Dieterich 5-4.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Niebs.jpg Walsh, Bulldogs fend off Newton 17-8

    Makayla Walsh played the role of starter and stopper.
    She relieved St. Anthony pitcher Jenna Woltman, who was struggling to locate her pitches, and stopped the bleeding during a four-run fourth inning.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video

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.