Florida Gulf Coast Gets Their Chance Against Florida in the Sweet 16

By Marilee Gallagher

Before the 2013 season began, head coach of the Florida Gulf Coast EaglesAndy Enfield, had just one request of Billy Donovan and his Florida Gators: schedule them for a preseason scrimmage.

While Donovan did entertain the option, ultimately Florida chose to go in another direction. In what at the time was seen to be a smart and tactical move, Florida’s head coach scheduled Rollins College, a school of just under 2,000 undergraduate students, for their scrimmage.

As Donovan has later admitted, the reason behind this was that Rollins runs a similar offense to that of Georgetown and one that Florida would be seeing at least twice during the regular season.

Because of the NCAA‘s strict rules about the allowance of scheduling preseason matches, Florida denied FGCU’s request.

It didn’t make much sense. It wasn’t as if the Eagles were asking to be put on Florida’s non-conference schedule, a request that may have had them laughed out of the room. No, they just wanted a scrimmage, but because of whatever reason, they didn’t get that chance.

Well some may call it fate and others may call it destiny, but when it comes time for the tip on Friday night, FGCU will finally get their chance to take on the Gators of Florida. This time however, it won’t be just about a preseason tune-up.

No, this game counts and a spot in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship is on the line.

If Florida underestimated FGCU before the 2013 season, they should be certain not to do so again. Ironically enough, Georgetown, the team Florida considered most when deciding on their preseason opponent, fell to Florida Gulf Coast in a contest that frankly wasn’t even close.

Now it is Florida’s turn to prove that they made the right decision in not scheduling FGCU. While there is no guarantee that playing a scrimmage with the Eagles would have meant anything, you have to reason that if the outcome doesn’t go Florida’s way tonight, they will certainly be entertaining the possibility of what if.

Follow Marilee on Twitter, @MGallagher17 and Google+

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