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Florida Gulf Coast Basketball: Why FGCU Is the Most Fun Team in America

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 24:  Sherwood Brown #25 of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles celebrates with teammates on the bench in the second half while taking on the San Diego State Aztecs during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on March 24, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Doug BrodessCorrespondent IMarch 29, 2013

Florida Gulf Coast is not only "The Story" of this year's March Madness, but they may be shifting how college basketball teams pursue success.

The No. 15 seed Eagles take winning seriously, but not themselves.

Taking on and defeating some of the best teams in the nation doesn't have to turn them into lifeless zombies.

At the Sweet 16 news conference at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, FGC head coach Andy Enfield stated that he believes that teams play better and players get better if they enjoy what they are doing.

He spoke of having a "culture of fun" where players can be loose and focused at the same time.

It's hard to argue with Enfield's perspective or approach right now after the Atlantic Sun tournament winners have handled No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 7 seed San Diego State.

The Eagles beat the Hoyas and Aztecs by playing wide open, full throttle hoops with lots of no-look alley-oops and tons of thunderous tomahawk dunks, all of which are regularly worked on in practice.

As FGC prepares to face their in-state rival Florida, they are still carefree and reveling in every minute of their magical ride.

Seeing them first-hand at the Sweet 16 shootaround was priceless.

Some of the Eagles decided that it would be fun to switch practice jerseys before taking the court. Since no one knows them anyway, what's the difference, right?

More than one member of the media was frustrated by the players' playfulness. But this kind of spur of the moment mischief is what fuels this team's camaraderie.

Free-spirit PG/ringleader Brett Comer was being interviewed courtside. Spontaneously taking the microphone, Comer reversed roles, and went from being interviewee to interviewer. Hilarious.

Enfield says his team doesn't have to act like they like each other or act like they're having fun because they genuinely enjoy being around each other and they are having a blast.

The atmosphere was so relaxed on the court at Cowboys Stadium that no one batted an eye when the head coach went and got his young son and held him as he directed the workout.

Make no mistake about it. The Eagles have worked hard collectively and individually to get to where they are today.

Many of these players had serious on-court limitations coming out of high school. But, Enfield believes 100 percent in constantly concentrating on basics like shooting techniques, ball-handling and footwork. Because the Eagles work on these fundamentals on a daily basis, his players are continually developing and improving. As they get better, they truly enjoy the work and the results that comes from the effort.

Even the team’s postseason media guide is fun. When biographical information is listed, fans can also find out each players Twitter handle. Because FGC is also known as “Dunk City,” they list extensive stats on how many dunks they’ve had during the season, including dunk leaders, throwdowns by half and slam superlatives.

Florida Gulf Coast’s upbeat mindset and lighthearted approach to the remainder of the tournament positions them to have further success. They respect Florida, but they are confident about how they can play on any given night.

After all, they aren’t just this year’s Cinderella. The Eagles are the most fun college basketball team in America.

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