Sweet 16 predictions, Florida vs. Florida Gulf Coast: Can Eagles keep the magic alive?


FGCU captured the nation's attention with an incredible tournament run, but they'll be facing their toughest opponent yet. Can they keep the run going?

By far the biggest story of the NCAA Tournament has been the magical run of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. They not only became the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet 16, they did it by dominating their opponents. Their freewheeling offensive style and acrobatic alley-oops have quickly made them one of America's favorite teams.

However, they'll be running into their biggest matchup yet on Friday, when they take on the Florida Gators. The Gators have been one of the best teams in the nation all season, and are rightfully the big favorites in this game. Odds Shark has the line set at -13 in Florida's favor, and CBS Sports' panel of experts has picked them to win across the board.

Now this doesn't mean that the Eagles are totally helpless. In fact, there are several scenarios that could end in another upset if the stars align. SB Nation's Bill Connelly outlined such a scenario. You should go read that whole thing right now, but here's the money quote:

Florida is precisely the type of team that should handle a free-wheeling FGCU team with ease. The Gators are too precise, have too many weapons and are probably too good at taking a team with FGCU's approach out of its comfort zone. But a scenario for an FGCU win isn't that difficult to imagine, not with the way Florida has struggled in tight games, and not with the way the crowd at Cowboys Stadium will be rooting for FGCU as if it's an Eagles home game.

Assume that FGCU's run comes to an end on Friday night, but watch the fouls, the three-pointers, the rebounding, and the pace early on. If those things are running in the Eagles' favor, they might have another run in them.

The Eagles and Gators tip off Friday at approximately 10:07 P.M. ET on TBS.

More in College Basketball:

16 things you should know about the Sweet 16

Get ready for an all-B1G Final Four

Bill Connelly: Here's how FGCU beats Florida

Sweet 16 power rankings: Cards still on top

Printable bracket for March Madness

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