The Georgetown Hoyas earned a No. 2 seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament, paving the way for a deep tournament run as they hail from the South division.
Their opponent in the second round, No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast, might not be a household name right now, but upon closer examination it's clear that the Hoyas can't take this team lightly after it went 24-10 this season and won the Atlantic Sun conference.
If you haven't heard of the Eagles this season—don't despair. You're not alone; Steve Kerr (who is broadcasting some of the tournament games this year for CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV) didn't know them either after being the first team to earn a tournament bid on March 9 (tweet courtesy of Adam Zagoria):
Steve Kerr at NCAA breakfast w/ Jim Nantz&Reggie Miller: 'Thank you for not asking me about Florida Gulf Coast. I have no idea about them.'— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) March 11, 2013
Georgetown doesn't want to become the seventh team to be upset by a No. 15 seed, and that's exactly what the Eagles will be aiming for when this game commences on March 22.
To ensure that you, the fans, are as well prepared for the Eagles as Wooden candidate Otto Porter, Markel Starks and the rest of John Thompson III's team will be for this game, it's important to know what the Hoyas are up against in the second round of the tourney.
For starters, the Eagles have a nice trio they rely on heavily from game-to-game.
Atlantic Sun Player of the Year and senior guard Sherwood Brown (6'4", 200 pounds) is the big man on campus for FGCU. He averages 15.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game—numbers that don't make your jaw drop but should tell you that he's active on both ends and can make a big impact on offense.
Behind him, sophomore Bernard Thompson (6'3", 166 pounds) and forward Chase Fieler (6'8", 205 pounds) both average more than 12 points per game. Thompson averages 2.8 steals per game, too, a number that places him in the upper echelon of steal men in the entire country.
While the trio makes up roughly 60 percent of the team's 73 points per game, the Eagles aren't a team that only goes six-deep. Nine of the team's players have seen action in at least 32 games, and average more than 13 minutes per game, at that.
Throw in sophomore forwards Eric McKnight (6'9", 210 pounds) and Filip Cvjeticanin (6'9", 212 pounds) and the Eagles have plenty of size to contend with any team that comes their way in March.
It might be a reason why they knocked off another No. 2 seed—the Miami Hurricanes—earlier this season. The rest of their tournament resume (losses to VCU, Duke, St. John's and Iowa State) isn't all that impressive, but the game against Miami was indicative of what the strategy might be against the Hoyas.
The Eagles pounded the ball inside to their bigs in that game, got balanced scoring from guards Brown and Thompson and used the emotion of a sellout crowd to win a huge game in November. While it didn't seem like much at the time, the Hurricanes have gone on to earn a No. 2 seed in the dance, and that win helped spur this school's first-ever NCAA tournament bid (the Atlantic Sun automatic bid).
One reason why you might not have heard of this school is because it hasn't been around for long.
As noted by Chris Sheridan in this useful piece on things to know about Florida Gulf Coast, the school has only been around since 1997. They've only been in Division-I play for five years (starting in 2008) and have played stepson to Belmont over the time before the Bruins left for the Ohio Valley Conference.
Head coach Andy Enfield, who was a former assistant at Florida State, has this team playing great basketball. While the losses have hurt, the Eagles have been in almost every game they've played this season. They erased doubt about being able to beat Atlantic Sun leader Mercer with two straight wins over the Bears (one in the tournament title game) in the final few games of the season.
Are you worried about Georgetown's chances in this game?
Georgetown will first have to contend with Brown. He makes the club tick, but the size on the inside is a great complementary piece to the quality guard play on the outside. Since Brown is a senior he'll be highly motivated for both the NBA scouts in attendance and to put this school on the map, while younger guys like Thompson and McKnight are wild cards to go off at any moment.
The Hoyas have a chance to glide through a relatively soft South region. It starts on March 22 with the Eagles, but don't confuse the number next to their name as a precursor to the effort that will be given.
Florida Gulf Coast has size, a mixture of experience and youth and a lot to prove—not to mention nothing to lose. Get ready for a dog fight in the NCAA tournament, because this team is going to be ready to play in the second round.