ORLANDO – Florida Gulf Coast might not have the same high-flying bunch that earned the “Dunk City” moniker on the way to the Sweet 16 in 2013, but the rims figure to be shaking nonetheless when the Eagles meet the Seminoles Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
With 328 dunks between them, FSU and FGCU are two of the three most dunk-heavy teams in the country. The Seminoles rank first with 171, while the Eagles’ 157 is third. Kentucky (164) is second.
“It’s going to be a fun game,” FSU sophomore Terance Mann said. “It’s going to be up-and-down, a lot of paint touches, a lot of kicks and drives and dunks, so it’s going to be a fun game to watch.”
With the potential for a lively crowd at the Amway Center – Orlando is almost evenly spaced between Tallahassee and Fort Myers – a steady diet of dunks could also swing the game in either team’s direction.
“The thing about dunks is it can bring a team up and it can bring a team down,” FSU senior Jarquez Smith said. “Say if we get a dunk and we make a run, it’s not good for them. But if they get dunks and make a run, it’s not a good thing for us. But it will be a very exciting game to watch.”
Familiar face on FGCU bench
Stan Jones always figured Michael Fly had a future in the coaching business.
He just might wish, for this week at least, that Fly’s career path had taken him elsewhere.
After three years as the Seminoles’ video coordinator (2008-11), Fly went with former FSU assistant Andy Enfield to Florida Gulf Coast, where he has served as an assistant coach ever since.
“Michael was a fantastic staff member for us in the three years he was with us,” Jones said. “When he went with Coach Enfield to start their tenure at Florida Gulf Coast, I knew he was going to be a superstar.”
So much so that when Enfield left FGCU for Southern California after two seasons, new Eagles coach Joe Dooley retained Fly on his staff.
That familiarity, though, has led the Seminoles to implement some new wrinkles for when they meet on Thursday.
“That’s my biggest worry about him being on their staff – he knows a little bit about us and they’re going to throw some stuff at us,” Jones said. “He kind of knows the inner workings of what we do, so we’ve kind of prepared against a few things, hoping to kind of be mind-readers and figure out what they’re going to do. Because Mike’s a superstar rising up in this business.”
Big Dance Steps
Florida State is set to appear in its 15th NCAA tournament and fifth under coach Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles are 15-14 all-time in the tournament. … FSU is 8-6 all-time in the first round of the NCAA tournament. … FSU’s No. 3 seed matches its highest in school history (1992, 1993, 2012). … An FSU victory would give the Seminoles 26 for the season, moving them one behind the school record of 27 set in 1972. The ’72 Seminoles played for the national championship.
FSU in the NCAA tournament
1968: First Round
1972: National Final
1978: First Round
1980: Second Round
1988: First Round
1989: First Round
1991: Second Round
1992: Sweet Sixteen
1993: Elite Eight
1998: Second Round
2009: First Round
2010: First Round
2011: Sweet Sixteen
2012: Second Round
2017: vs. Florida Gulf Coast, Thursday, 9:20 p.m.