As much as we enjoy the NCAA tournament for its unpredictability and jaw-dropping drama, we always go into March Madness was some semblance of realistic expectations. While the event itself has been known to foster down-to-the-wire matchups, mind-blowing upsets, and the type of Cinderella tales that will be talked about for years, by the time the confetti drops on another college basketball season, more often than not, the team left standing is a major power.
In the end, the world of collegiate hoops belongs to the blue bloods. Everyone else is just a small piece of the story. We’re not saying this to burst anyone’s bubble (or bracket, depending on how you look at things). In fact, it’s just the opposite. We make this point because, given the circumstances, we believe it’s that much more important to embrace the underdog. For if history has shown us anything, it’s that at some point, the clock will strike midnight, the slipper will not longer fit, and Cinderella’s time at the ball will be over.
Therefore, when one of these dark horses does something spectacular, it’s imperative that you enjoy it; that you take it all in and live in the moment. Because it may be awhile before something like that captures your attention again. And for us, the last time we were truly captivated by a team that seemingly came out of nowhere occurred during the 2013 tournament, when the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles made “Dunk City” a household name. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a special NCAA tournament edition of “Throwback Throwdowns.”
For the most part, no one knew anything about the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. They entered the 2013 NCAA tournament with a 26-11 mark, earning an automatic bid after defeating Mercer to win the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament. They were the No. 15 seed in the South Region, tasked with taking on the No. 2-seeded Georgetown Hoyas in the ultimate “David versus Goliath” second-round matchup (technically, this was the Eagles’ opening game of the tournament, but we don’t need to get into that).
By all intensive purposes, this should’ve been a quick exit for this obscure program. Except, a funny thing happened, Florida Gulf Coast left an indelible mark instead. With just over two minutes left in the contest, and the Eagles clinging to a nine-point advantage, the Hoyas scored on tip-in to cut the score to 65-58.
While the underdogs still held a considerable lead, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to think that the more experienced Georgetown team had the means to quickly flip the script. Especially when the Hoyas opted to put on the full-court press. Clearly, like the rest of us, the Big East power completely underestimated its opponent. Florida Gulf Coast’s Bernard Thompson received the inbounds pass, took one dribble, and threw an overhead pass to Sherwood Brown at half court.
Brown jumped up, caught the ball, landed, and quickly tossed it over to sophomore guard Brett Comer, who was just outside the three-point line on the right wing. And that’s when the magic happened. Comer took one dribble toward the basket, tossed a no-look pass to the sky, where a streaking Chase Fieler came out of nowhere to thunderously slam home the alley-oop.
As everyone in attendance, from the bench to the stands to the on-air personalities, erupted in disbelief, it was safe to say that the world had just witnessed something truly special. Something that could only be described in two words: Dunk City.
Statistics courtesy of SR/College Basketball.