Florida Gulf Coast, the No. 15 seed in the South Region, is a big underdog in its first NCAA Tournament appearance, against No. 2 seed Georgetown today.
Eagles coach Andy Enfield shrugs, saying: "Our players are not afraid of anyone. They'll play anyone, anywhere, and this game just happens to be against Georgetown in Philadelphia. So we're looking forward to the opportunity."
Enfield, a former FSU assistant, took over in April 2011. His teams have won 39 games in the past two seasons, matching the total from the previous four seasons. The Eagles have been building for their NCAA appearance — during a conference tournament run last spring and an upset win over Miami this fall. During road trips this season to Duke and St. John's and VCU and Iowa State. During a conference championship captured at hostile Mercer.
Enfield says the tough moments served as building blocks for a program that is in its sixth year competing in Division I, and its second season with postseason eligibility.
"We didn't look at those games as, 'Hey we need to play all these games just to prepare for one NCAA Tournament game,' " Enfield said Thursday. "Because we didn't know we'd be here. Nothing goes as planned when you're building a program."
Enfield said the team's sports information director has a list eight pages long with media requests. He has handled it all, saying he has been surprised by just one thing.
"Well, my wife (supermodel Amanda Marcum Enfield) is getting more publicity than me right now," he said with a laugh.
Georgetown coach John Thompson III isn't taking the game lightly. "A lot of times, you look at lower-seeded teams, they're very good teams, but physically, they don't match up,'' he said. "Florida Gulf Coast is a very athletic team. They aren't a small team that just happens to be playing well right now."
Love to hate Henderson: Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy compares watching Marshall Henderson to watching NASCAR. The wrecks are both unpredictable and inevitable.
The Rebels' colorful, polarizing guard led the SEC in scoring, helping them rally past Florida to win the SEC tournament and earn their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2002. He's the guy opposing fans love to hate.
On Thursday, before the Rebels had a final practice in preparation for playing Wisconsin in the West Region today, Kennedy said: "It's like watching NASCAR, waiting for the wreck. He's going real fast, oops, he didn't wreck there, another turn."
Does Henderson relish being the villain?
"I guess so," he replied. "I don't really have a choice, do I?"
F Reginald Buckner said the SEC title game victory over Florida added to Henderson's lore.
"People didn't get to see it," Williams said, "but halftime, we're down 12, he just came into the locker room, sat down and put his hands behind his head, crossed his feet and said, 'Guys, we'll be okay.' He's usually like that. We're down, we feel like we can come back from any deficit."
More ole miss: The state college board approved plans for Ole Miss to spend $6 million for architects to design a 10,000-seat venue, a parking garage and other facilities. The arena would replace the 9,061-seat Tad Smith Coliseum, built in 1967. A new arena's cost is unclear.
Notre dame: The Irish will wear their more traditional white uniforms today against Iowa State instead of the green uniforms they broke out recently that were panned by many fashionistas and got a negative review from President Barack Obama, who said the "neon glow thing didn't work for me." F Jack Cooley: "I could tell a lot of people weren't telling the truth to me when they said how they felt about them. I personally really liked them."