DUNK CITY, Fla. – The FGCU men’s basketball team will begin the 2013-14 campaign with its highest-ever showing in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll as the Eagles are ranked No. 11 in the season-opening ballot.
The Eagles garnered 267 points and were the only Atlantic Sun Conference team represented in the top 25. Wichita State – which advanced to the Final Four last year – was voted No. 1 on the strength of 24 first-place votes, with Gonzaga checking in at No. 2 and picking up the other seven first-place tallies.
FGCU had only been ranked in the poll one other time in program history – No. 25 in the final rankings at the end of the 2012-13 season after the Green and Blue became the first team to punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with an A-Sun Championship.
Mercer and USC Upstate are receiving votes, giving the A-Sun three teams in the poll that are either ranked or receiving votes. In total, FGCU will face three opponents in the regular season who are receiving votes in the preseason poll.
The Mid-Major Poll is made up of teams from the following conferences: America East, A-Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Horizon, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, West Coast and Western Athletic. Independent teams are also considered.
The Green and Blue became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to advance to the Sweet 16 last year after beating second-seeded Georgetown and seventh-seeded San Diego State, doing so in exhilarating, high-flying fashion and earning the “Dunk City” moniker along the way. FGCU went 26-11 in 2012-13 and returns four starters to a team that has been predicted to repeat as A-Sun champions in 2013-14.
FGCU concluded last year ranked No. 25 in the nation in the final USA Today Coaches Poll, knocked off eventual ACC champion Miami and earned an ESPY for “Best Upset.” Junior Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) has been named by Bleacher Report as one of the Top-10 Most Exciting Players for the 2013-14 season, while lone senior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) has been tabbed as one of the Top-20 Mid-Major Stars for the upcoming year by the same outlet. Junior Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) is also the defending A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year after finishing second in the nation in total steals (102).
Fans will get to see their first game action at “Breakfast at the Beach” – FGCU’s home opener which is part of ESPN’s 24-Hour Tipoff Marathon. The game versus Hartford will air live on ESPN2 at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12, and the Sweet 16 banner will be unveiled. Tickets are selling quickly and can be reserved by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets or by calling 239-590-7145.
For up-to-the-minute information and behind-the-scenes access to the men’s basketball program, follow @FGCU_MBB on Twitter and Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook at /FGCUMBB.
2013-14 men’s basketball season tickets are selling quickly, and only a limited amount remain. New this year are mini-plan packages for all games, with the exception of “Breakfast at the Beach,” and individual-game tickets are now on sale. Fans can reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets.
Team (Points) Conference
1. Wichita State (766) Missouri Valley
2. Gonzaga (747) West Coast
3. BYU (568) West Coast
4. New Mexico State (478) Western Athletic
5. Indiana State (466) Missouri Valley
6. Northern Iowa (450) Missouri Valley
7. North Dakota State (432) Summit
8. Davidson (431) Southern
9. Denver (430) Summit
10. Akron (340) Mid-American
11. FGCU (267) Atlantic Sun
12. Harvard (266) Ivy League
13. Princeton (263) Ivy League
14. Western Kentucky (251) Sun Belt
15. Weber State (230) Big Sky
16. Eastern Kentucky (226) Ohio Valley
17. UC Santa Barbara (211) Big West
18. Manhattan (209) Metro Atlantic
19. Elon (206) Southern
20. Montana (203) Big Sky
21. Green Bay (200) Horizon
22. Saint Mary’s (173) West Coast
23. Toledo (166) Mid-American
24. Towson (164) Colonial
25. Northwestern State (134) Southland