3/23 Go Eagles

Casey Coleman went to Florida Gulf Coast University because the school’s baseball team would let him play both pitch and play infield. Coleman is older than the school, which played its first collegiate baseball game when the Cubs right-handed pitcher was in high school in Ft. Myers, Fla.

On Friday, Coleman found out he was being assigned to the Cubs’ Minor League camp, but later that day, he was able to celebrate. Florida Gulf Coast University, a 15th seed, had done the impossible, upsetting No. 2 seed Georgetown in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, 78-68.

“I knew they were good,” Coleman said Saturday of FGCU. “I don’t know if I’d give them enough credit to beat Georgetown, not because I didn’t think they could but because Georgetown is an unbelievable team. I’ll tell you, after meeting that coach, I knew he wasn’t going to let them go in there intimidated.”

It’s been a wild year for the Eagles, who beat Miami and played Duke, Iowa State and VCU this season. Next up in the NCAA tournament is seventh-seed San Diego State on Sunday. Coleman had gone to Phoenix on Friday for the Cubs game against the Brewers, and was keeping track of the action on the bus ride back to Mesa. He got to watch most of the second half.

“Everyone was surprised at how athletic they were,” Coleman said of the Eagles. “I knew they were athletic and knew they could shoot some three’s. I knew there was a chance — but it’s tough to envision them actually beating a team like Georgetown.”

Did Coleman pick his school in his bracket?

“I didn’t fill out brackets this year,” Coleman said. “I let family and friends do the ones here. They did not pick them.”

Hindsight is easy, but would he have picked FGCU if he did his own bracket?

“With there not being a clear cut No. 1 this year, it would’ve been fun to pick them,” he said. “Personally, I would’ve seen Georgetown losing to Florida anyways so why not pick a team like FGCU to have fun with it? Florida’s going to be tough. FGCU has a tough matchup against San Diego State, but that’s a winnable game, too. When you get to Florida, that’ll be interesting. If they can get to that Sweet 16 againt Florida, that’ll be a fun story.”

Recruiting should improve at FGCU, which already has an edge. There’s a beach on campus. At 25, Coleman is older than the school itself.

“What they did, [beating Georgetown], that’ll be talked about forever,” Coleman said. “They’re going to be a big school. They’re going to get football in the next 10 years. [Ohio State coach] Urban Meyer’s daughter goes there. He’s been around the campus giving them ideas on how to start it up. I think Dan Marino’s son went there. They’ve got a bunch of name guys who will help the school and help it grow.”

– Carrie Muskat

3 Comments

A respected analyst on ESPN said FGCU’s dismantling of GTown was no fluke. Said if the same two teams played today, you would have the same result. Isn’t this just the second year the school’s been a Division 1 program? Sherwood Brown, their leading scorer last night, I’ve heard is a walk-on. Would love to see this team go deep into the tournament. Is why fans love March Madness.

That’s what I like about college ball. it is exciting when a team like FGCU goes far in the tournament. The Cubs puzzle is beginning to take shape, could turn out better than we think this year.

FGCU in round of 16. Go Eagles!

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