The clock will soon strike midnight on the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. Andy Enfield's remarkable run with the 15th-seeded Cinderella will come to an end in the Sweet 16 on Friday night.
The overachieving Eagles made history on Sunday by becoming the first No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to advance to the regional semifinals. But that's as far as they'll go.
Enfield's high-flying squad will clash with No. 3 Florida in North Texas on Friday night in the South Regional semifinals. The Gators are coached by one of college basketball's best in Billy Donovan, and feature a handful of talented seniors, who have had each of their past two seasons end in heartbreaking fashion in the Elite Eight.
Covers.com has the Gators as 13-point favorites and it's certainly hard to argue. Florida isn't Georgetown, and definitely not San Diego State.
The Gators won their first two games by an average of 23 points this past weekend, and are one of the top shooting teams in the country, hitting better than 48 percent from the field as a team this year.
Enfield deserves a pat on the back and endless kudos for what he's been able to accomplish with the Atlantic Sun Conference champions this March, but to take out a two-time national champion head coach en route to the Elite Eight would be unthinkable.
Plus, the Eagles have to come back down to earth at some point. Point guard Brett Comer, who's averaging 6.6 assists and 3.5 turnovers per game this season is averaging a remarkable 12 assists and just 2.5 turnovers per game for the tournament.
Also, the Eagles are making 39.4 percent of their 3-pointers in the tournament, compared to just 34.2 percent on the season. Expect those impressive numbers to level out on Friday as Florida's underrated defense and explosive offense will present problems for Comer and FGCU's shooters.
The clock will soon strike midnight on Enfield and FGCU's Cinderella run. Playing loose and free will only carry a team so far before talent wins out.
Florida is one of the most talented teams in America, and the numbers point to the Gators advancing to the Elite Eight this weekend. Unlike FGCU, the Gators aren't relying on momentum or a feeling to win the national championship in 2013. Florida was the odds-on favorite to advance to Atlanta for the Final Four before the NCAA Tournament began, and the Eagles' surprising run to the Sweet 16 has seemingly only improved those odds.
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