- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Andy Enfield’s team from Florida Gulf Coast is seeded No. 15 in the South Region, double-digit underdogs to Georgetown, certainly expected to make a one-and-done appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Given all that, Enfield has a simple message for the Hoyas.

“If I were Georgetown, I’d sleep on us. And hopefully they are,” Enfield said, unable to even say the words without laughter. “They’re much better. They don’t even need to show up. They can sleepwalk through the whole game.”


Nice thought. Won’t happen.

Florida Gulf Coast is only in its sixth season of Division I athletics, and just its second season of tournament eligibility. Nonetheless, here come the Eagles (24-10) to college basketball’s biggest stage, champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference who got an automatic trip to the NCAAs where Georgetown (25-6) will await in Philadelphia on Friday night.

The Eagles’ resume: A five-game winning streak to end the season, a league championship that was won on the road against a rival Mercer team that had been 15-0 at home _ and had beaten Florida State and Alabama during the year _ and perhaps most impressively, a convincing win over Miami early in the season.

Now comes the next, and by far the biggest, challenge.

“We’re very confident. That’s the way we’ve been all year,” sophomore guard Brett Comer said. “We’re not scared to play anybody. We’re not scared of anybody. We’re trying to win this. We’re not going out here just to put on a show.”

The school probably isn’t one many know much about. Located in Fort Myers, Fla., on the state’s Gulf coast, the Eagles have sun and sand as some of their selling points _ there literally is a beach on-campus.

And the athletic department is making a quick splash at the Division I level as well.

The women’s basketball team went to the NCAAs last year and was upset in the conference title game this year. The men’s and women’s soccer teams both went to the Division I tournaments last fall. The baseball team recently swept a three-game series at perennial national power Florida. The softball team won a game in the NCAA tourney last spring. Even the swimming team is riding high, with five straight league titles.

In short, you don’t want to be the coach at FGCU who doesn’t have an office littered with trophies.

“We felt like we had to win this year just to keep up with everyone else at the school,” Enfield said.

So Enfield loaded up the schedule, not with easy wins, but with teams that would make the Eagles better come tourney time. And the start of their season was downright brutal.

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