You might remember the last time Florida Gulf Coast and Mercer met. It was the Atlantic Sun title game in Macon, Georgia. Mercer was hosting the conference tournament and had already won the regular season championship. The Bears were undefeated at home and presumed to be on their way to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985.
You know what happened next, Florida Gulf Coast laid the Dunk City foundation for a tournament run for the ages by turning on the jets in the second half and running away with an 88-75 win. The Eagles went on to beat Georgetown and San Diego State out of the 15 seed and were the story of the tournament. Mercer got an NIT victory at Tennessee in the postseason, but had to bitterly watch as FGCU did damage with a spot they almost had.
Tonight the two teams tangle for the first time since that March night at the scene of the crime on the Mercer campus. Florida Gulf Coast lost their coach and haven't exactly been the same giant killers as they were last year, failing to register a win that would have previously been considered a red line upset on this site, but are 6-1 in conference play. Joe Dooley has the Eagles getting it done with defense (.973 points per possession allowed, best in the A-Sun) as the team is much more methodical than the one that was throwing oops on every play during that magical tournament run.
Mercer on the other hand is ready for revenge. The Eagles knocked them out of the A-Sun tournament the last two seasons. A CIT Championship and NIT win at Tennessee are nice consolation prizes, but no substitute for a trip to the big dance. The Bears have the leagues best offense (1.095 O-PPP) thanks to great shooting from every spot on the court. Senior point guard Langston Hall leads the Bears with 14.8 points per game and 5.6 assists and like the rest of the seniors is looking for a little vengeance and some separation in the A-Fun standings as both teams sit at the top of the table at 6-1.
Will the Bears continue their five game conference winning streak or will Dunk City rise again?
© 2004-2014 The Mid-Majority. All content is the property of its authors.