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FGCU to play Georgetown in NCAA men's basketball tournament

Mar. 17, 2013
FGCU fans erupt at NCAA Tournament selection watch...
FGCU fans erupt at NCAA Tournament selection watch...: FGCU basketball fans gathered at Alico arena Sunday afternoon to see who the 15th-seeded Eagles would play in the NCAA tournamnet. Video by Guy Tubbs
Members of the FGCU Men's Basketball team react after hearing they will play Georgetown for their first game in the NCAA tournament. / Jack Hardman/

NCAA tournament

Who: 15th-seed FGCU (24-10) vs. 2nd seed Georgetown (25-6)
When: 6:50 p.m. Friday
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

FGCU ticket information

When: Friday and Sunday
Host school: Temple
Call: 800-298-4200

Prices for Phiiladelphia bracket all-sessions tickets
Mezzanine End - $210
Mezzanine Center - $225
Club - $255
Lower - $255

FGCU must buy 350 tickets. If school succeeds, it will be given up to another 200

Tickets: 590-7145


PHOTOS: FGCU Selection Party | Photos Part 2 | Photos Part 3 | More from FGCU selection party

FGCU, NCAA tourney page | FGCU sports page
| Video: FGCU AD talks firsts | FGCU getting known
Tourney bracket
More NCAA tourney coverage from USA TODAY

Arms locked, eyes wide, breathing stopped dead, they rocked back in their chairs together when a possible opponent appeared, then twice exhaled en masse when their school’s name wasn’t called.

When it finally flashed overhead on the giant projection screen, the FGCU men’s basketball team and about 1,000 supporters exploded into applause Sunday evening inside Alico Arena.

In only their second year even being allowed to play in the annual sports extravaganza known as March Madness, the Eagles learned their foe for their first appearance in the NCAA tournament.

FGCU, which won the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament a little over a week ago to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, will play history-steeped Georgetown University on Friday in Philadelphia.

The Eagles (24-10) were handed the No. 15 seed in the South Region against the second-seeded Hoyas (25-6).

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“Georgetown is a great basketball team,” second-year FGCU coach Andy Enfield said of the Hoyas, a perennial power in the Big East Conference and the winner of the national championship in 1984.

“They have a great tradition and have been one of the best programs in the nation in the last 20 or 30 years. Big East basketball is as good as it gets, so we know we have our hands full. We look forward to the opportunity to compete against them.”

As FGCU waited to learn its draw, university President Wilson Bradshaw was among those helping whip a green-and-blue-clad crowd into frenzy over what is becoming a national story.

FGCU has been playing basketball for only 11 seasons and is in only its second season with NCAA postseason eligibility as a member of top-tier Division I.

CBS borrowed the feed from its local affiliate WINK News to include FGCU’s reaction in its national broadcast revealing the brackets for the 68-team tournament.

Even The New York Times and USA TODAY, both of which had reporters at FGCU on Sunday, joined the dozens of media outlets that have seized on FGCU’s story.

“It’s really fascinating,” said Times college sports reporter Greg Bishop.

Enfield’s background as a Wall Street entrepreneur and former NBA assistant coach in his first stint as a head coach also has made FGCU’s story more compelling nationally, Bishop noted.

Enfield already has won as many games in two seasons at FGCU as the Eagles won the four previous seasons combined.

“It’s amazing having this much support,” said FGCU sophomore point guard Brett Comer. “Coming in here two years ago, seeing this happen so fast, even last year to the point we are now is pretty amazing.”

Enfield has spent much of the past week telling FGCU’s story.

Even as FGCU shifts into game-preparation mode, though, the Eagles continue drawing attention to their school and Southwest Florida.

“Everyone knows who FGCU is,” Bradshaw said of a just-completed trip to the West Coast for a gathering of university presidents.

“People can hear of FGCU and realize, ‘Hey, we have a great university here,’” Enfield said.

Hopping on his toes with a triumphant fist raised overhead to the cheers of FGCU students and supporters, Bradshaw also relayed his conversation with University of Miami President Donna Shalala.

The Hurricanes, the second seed in the East Region, lost to FGCU, 63-51, in Alico Arena in November.

“She said, ‘Dr. Bradshaw,’ ” Bradshaw said while interjecting an aside with a laugh. “I make her call me that, ‘Dr. Bradshaw.’ She said, ‘Dr. Bradshaw, I’ll see you all in the Final Four.’ ”

– Follow Seth Soffian on Twitter @NewsPressSeth.

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