Take it from somebody who skilled up shut the magic and mania of being the lowest-seeded staff to succeed in the Candy 16: Spending this week within the relative isolation of the single-site event in Indianapolis will solely assist Oral Roberts because it prepares to play Arkansas.
Michael Fly, now the pinnacle coach at Florida Gulf Coast, was an assistant on the 2013 “Dunk Metropolis” staff that turned the primary No. 15 seed to make it out of the event’s first weekend.
Eight years later, Fly remembered how the sudden celeb, new followers leaping on the bandwagon and per week’s value of media hype overwhelmed the employees and gamers and finally caught as much as them.
On the courtroom, Oral Roberts is on the identical path as FGCU, having upset a No. 2 seed (Ohio State) and a No. 7 (Florida) going into Saturday’s sport towards a No. 3 within the Razorbacks.
Off the courtroom, and within the cocoon of the event setting as a precaution towards COVID-19, entry to the Golden Eagles will probably be restricted. They are going to primarily be at their lodge and at practices.
“I believed that was in all probability the most important problem of that complete state of affairs,” Fly recalled on Monday. “I nonetheless keep in mind getting again and there have been a whole bunch of individuals lining campus. I confirmed as much as work sooner or later and ‘SportsCenter’ was doing a broadcast from the sector, and the ‘In the present day’ present and ‘Good Morning America’ had been there. You couldn’t park wherever. Individuals had been ransacking the ebook retailer in search of something with the FGCU emblem.”
Minutes after Oral Roberts’ 81-78 win over the Gators on Sunday, coach Paul Mills stated he’s glad his staff is staying put reasonably than heading again to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a couple of days.
“The managed atmosphere, because the NCAA has put it, is terrific as a result of we will get away from a few of that fanfare that form of comes your method and folks pulling you in numerous completely different instructions,” Mills stated.
As a result of FGCU was a comparatively new faculty and solely in its second 12 months of Division I eligibility, virtually all media requests had been granted. Fly — keep in mind, he was an assistant — stated he did greater than 20 interviews.
“I can’t think about what coach Enfield was coping with whereas we had been making an attempt to win one other sport,” Fly stated.
There actually had been no limits positioned on the gamers, Fly stated, and Sherwood Brown, Chase Fieler, Eric McKnight, Bernard Thompson and Brett Comer had been prepared interview topics.
“At this stage, going to a Candy 16 is sort of the problem, and we needed them to soak it in and luxuriate in it, nevertheless it was exhausting,” he stated. “Everyone was taking media requests left and proper, but in addition making an attempt to arrange to play a extremely good Florida staff.
“I keep in mind we had follow closed to the media and once we opened the doorways up you’d have thought LeBron and the Warmth had been right here. It was insane.”
Fueling all the pieces was the flashy type of basketball FGCU performed. Dunk Metropolis turned the model, and the gamers obliged with Comer lobbing the ball to the rim for his teammates to slam via. They dunked a mixed dozen instances within the first two event video games.
“Within the two video games we received towards Georgetown and San Diego State, we had been taking part in the best way we performed all 12 months,” Fly stated. “We had an athletic staff and clearly we’d throw lobs once we had the chance and we took benefit of transition alternatives.”
Issues began properly sufficient towards Florida within the Candy 16. FGCU led by 11 factors within the first half, and Fly stated he remembered pondering that the Eagles had been going to win once more.
However Florida made a key adjustment — trapping Comer and forcing him into uncharacteristic turnovers — and the Gators went on a 23-2 run spanning the halves to take management and draw back for a 62-50 win.
“Whenever you look again on the movie, there have been some performs within the Florida sport that I believed our guys virtually tried to make spotlight performs as a result of all they’d heard all week is that is essentially the most enjoyable staff of all time, Dunk Metropolis,” Fly stated. “I believed we tried to drive some lobs and do some issues as an alternative of simply making an attempt to win the sport as a result of there had been a lot hype.”
Regardless that Oral Roberts will be capable to restrict distractions this week, there will probably be further consideration on the Golden Eagles. That is OK with Mills, who stated his gamers deserve it and that it is a good factor for the college.
“I’m glad that the college, with it’s faith-based mission, goes to get consideration,” he stated. “And so from that perspective, it’s good that sports activities form of offers this platform.”
Fly’s message to Oral Roberts’ gamers: “Don’t consider your individual hype, don’t learn your press clippings and attempt to keep as locked in as potential even with all people round you going loopy going into that subsequent sport.”
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