Tourney Bound: FGCU Set to Face St. Bonaventure in First-Ever NCAA Tourney
Sunday, March 18, 2012 | by Mike Hill (mike_hill84)
Previous
Next
Photo Credit: Don Juan Moore
Photo Credit: Don Juan Moore
Florida Gulf Coast (29-3 (12-seed))
at
St. Bonaventure (30-3 (5-seed))
3/18/2012 | The Tucker Center - Tallahassee, Florida | Attendance: 1227
1st2nd1OT Final
Florida Gulf Coast2434765
St. Bonaventure30281472
Stats at a GlanceFGCUSBU
FG Percentage.357 (20-56) .436 (24-55)
3P FG Percentage.269 (7-26) .250 (3-12)
FT Percentage.750 (18-24) .724 (21-29)
Offensive Rebounds96
Defensive Rebounds2930
Total Rebounds3836
Turnovers1412
Steals44
Bench Points2021
Statistical LeadersFGCUSBU
PointsHANSEN - 15
VAN TATENHOVE - 18
ReboundsHANSEN - 11
HORTON - 9
AssistsKENNEDY - 3
ORTEGA - 1
BOWKER - 1
DIXON - 1
ASHTON - 1
StealsHANSEN - 2
BOWKER - 2
BlocksHANSEN - 1
KNIGHT - 1
GRIFFIN - 1

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The 12th seeded Eagles (29-2), who have won 21 consecutive games and own the fifth best win-loss percentage in the nation, will look to win the program’s first NCAA Tournament game when they take on No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure (29-3) on Sunday, March 18 at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2 at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla.

No. 12 FGCU (29-2, 18-0 A-SUN) vs. No. 5 St. Bonaventure (29-3, 14-0 A-10)
NCAA TOURNAMENT CENTRAL                         
DATE: Sunday, March 18, 2012
TIME: 2:30 p.m.
SITE: Tallahassee, Fla. - Tucker Center (12,100)
LIVE STATS: FGCUATHLETICS.COM
TV: ESPN2/ESPN3.com
TALENT: Justin Kutcher, Nell Fortner
LIVE AUDIO: FGCUATHLETICS.COM
TALENT: Tom James, Pete Lonergan
SERIES: 1st Meeting
CURRENT STREAK: W21
LAST 25: 24-1
LAST 30: 29-1
UP NEXT WITH A WIN: NCAA Tournament - 2nd Round vs. Winner of No. 4 Georgia/No. 13 Marist

KNOW YOUR OPPONENT: #5 ST. BONAVENTURE BONNIES
- The Bonnies are 29-3 overall and became the first squad in school history to win a regular season A-10 title.

-Under the leadership of head coach Jim Crowley, who is in his 12th year at the helm, St. Bonaventure went a combined 5-2 against six teams that made this year’s NCAA Tournament field of 64.

- Jim Crowley was named ESPN National Coach of the Year on March 9, 2012.

- The Bonnies, ranked No. 21 in last week’s AP Top 25, climbed out of a 22-point hole, but fell to Dayton (56-53) in the championship game of the Buick Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship.

- Jessica Jenkins is the Division I active leader with 331 career triples and is the all-time three-point leader in the A-10 Conference.

- SBU is the nation’s leader in fewest turnovers per game (10.9).

FGCU NOTES
LAST TIME OUT: Macon Madness! FGCU Beats Stetson to Claim 1st A-Sun Title & NCAA Tourney Bid

Behind a stingy defensive effort that held Stetson to their lowest point total of the season (39 points), the No. 28 FGCU women’s basketball team won their first Atlantic Sun Championship in their first-ever appearance in the A-Sun Tournament with a huge 67-39 win over the second-seeded Hatters in the championship game held Saturday afternoon at Mercer’s University Center. • With their 21th straight win, the top-seeded Eagles (29-2) became just the second team to post an A-Sun undefeated regular season and win the Championship Title. FIU accomplished the same feat in 1993 (12-0 regular season). The Blue and Green are now 9-2 all-time against the Hatters (23-10), including picking up three wins over Stetson this season. •  Making their first A-Sun postseason appearance in their first year of postseason eligibility, FGCU became only the third team in A-Sun history to win the Atlantic Sun Championship in its first appearance. Lipscomb (2004) and Miami (1991) were the only other schools to win in their first appearance. • Redshirt sophomore, A-Sun All-Conference first team choice and A-Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year Sarah Hansen earned Tournament MVP honors after finishing with 16 points, three boards, three assists and three steals. Hansen hit 6-of-11 shots from the field, including a career-high four three-pointers. Courtney Chihil, Eglah Griffin and Whitney Knight all joined Hansen on the 2012 A-Sun All-Tournament Team. • The Eagles knocked down 11-of-28 shots from behind the arc. • FGCU, who has hit double digit triples in 19 games this season (including 11 in back-to-back contests), needs just six three-pointers to break the NCAA record for three-pointers in a season (340), which is currently held by the 2009-10 Morehead St. team.

UP NEXT
If the Eagles win their first round matchup with the Bonnies, the Green and Blue will advance to the second round to face the winner of No. 4 seed Georgia (22-8) and No. 13 seed Marist (25-7) on Tuesday, March 20 (7 p.m.) at the Tucker Center.

TRYING TO BECOME THE FIRST
With a win over the Bonnies on Sunday, the FGCU women’s basketball squad will become the first team in FGCU Athletics history to win a game in the NCAA Tournament (Division I).

A-SUN IN THE NCAA TOURNEY
The A-Sun has only had two NCAA tournament wins. The last tournament win for the A-Sun was in 1998 when No. 7 FIU topped No. 10 Marquette 59-45. The other tournament win was in 1995 when No. 9 FIU knocked off No. 8 Old Dominion, 81-76. Atlantic Sun teams are 2-18 all-time in the NCAA tournament. FGCU, by earning a No. 12 spot, secured the fourth-best seed in the NCAA Tournament in A-Sun Conference history. FIU earned a No. 7 seed in 1998, No. 8 in 1994 and No. 9 in 1995. 

A-SUN TOURNEY HISTORY
Making their first A-Sun postseason appearance in their first year of postseason eligibility, FGCU became only the third team in A-Sun history to win the Atlantic Sun Championship in its first appearance. Lipscomb (2004) and Miami (1991) were the only other schools to win in their first appearance.

The 67-39 win over Stetson in the A-Sun Championship also helped FGCU become just the second team to post an A-Sun undefeated regular season and win the championship title (FIU; 1993). SU’s 39 points are the fewest in the A-Sun Championship Final since 1991 (Miami 73, FAMU 44).

FGCU’s point differential throughout the entire championship (67) was the largest total point differential since FIU’s 103 in 1998.

The Green and Blue’s 28-point win over Stetson in the Championship Final was the third-largest win in A-Sun history (FIU over GSU, 86-50, ‘98; Miami over FAMU, 73-44, ‘91). 

STEPPING UP DURING THE A-SUN TOURNEY
After shooting 57 percent from the floor and 71 percent from behind the arc at the 2012 A-Sun Tournament, while also averaging 18.7 points and 5.3 rebounds, Sarah Hansen earned Tournament MVP honors. In the championship game vs. Stetson, Hansen finished with 16 points and hit 6-of-11 shots from the field, including a career-high four three-pointers. Courtney Chihil, Eglah Griffin and Whitney Knight all joined Hansen on the 2012 A-Sun All-Tournament Team.

1,000-POINT CLUB’S NEWEST MEMBER
Courtney Chihil became the fifth player in program history to score 1,000 career points when she scored a layup with 15:38 left in the first half in the Green and Blue’s 67-39 win over Stetson in the A-Sun Championship Final on Mar. 3, 2012.

Chihil, who currently has 1,009 points, ranks 5th in the FGCU record books behind Adrianne McNally (1,415), Kelsey Jacobson (1,260), Shannon Murphy (1,185) and Kate Schrader (1,062).

PICKIN’ UP POSTSEASON HARDWARE
After winning the Atlantic Sun regular season championship for the third time in five years, the FGCU women’s basketball team earned a few more honors on Monday, Feb. 27. The conference announced their postseason honors and awards, with FGCU taking home four awards.

FGCU earned its fifth first team (first unanimous) selection in program history as Sarah Hansen followed up her second team selection last season by averaging a team-best 13.8 points and 6.3 rebounds and ranking second on the Eagles in steals (1.9) and blocks (17). Hansen, who sits eighth all-time in scoring in program history with 813 points, also ranked in the top-15 in the A-Sun in six categories (points, rebounds, FG Pct., FT Pct., steals, blocks). The redshirt-sophomore also earned A-Sun Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors.

Senior Kelsey Jacobson, the nation’s leader (among active players) in career three-point makes, earned second team All-Atlantic Sun honors, helping the Eagles secure their ninth 21-plus win season in the 10 year program history. Jacobson, who led the A-Sun in three-pointers made per game (2.7), picked up postseason honors for the first time since her freshman year (2008-09), when she earned A-Sun Freshman of the Year and All-Freshmen team.

Freshman Whitney Knight, the team leader in blocks, was selected to the All-Freshmen team. In A-Sun games, Knight ranked in the top-5 (among freshmen) in three categories (points, FG Pct.,blocks). The frosh tallied 3+ blocks on 10 occasions this season.

Senior Courtney Chihil, top five in several statistical categories in program history and a 3.97 GPA student-athlete, earned a selection to the A-Sun Academic All-Conference team.

FGCU’s Karl Smesko claimed a regular season conference crown for the third time in the program’s existence as his squad amassed a perfect 18-0 conference mark earning him Coach of the Year.

FGCU VS THE ATLANTIC 10 CONFERNECE
• FGCU is 2-0 all-time vs. A-10 competition this season with the average margin of victory being 8.5 points.
• The Eagles’ two wins, which were both played at home in Alico Arena, came against Richmond (81-67; Nov. 25, 2011) and George Washington (97-94 2OT; Mar. 19, 2009). The win over GWU was in the first round of the Postseason WNIT.

FGCU IN MARCH
• FGCU has an all-time record of 22-6 in games played in March.
• Since moving to Division I in 2007-08, the Eagles hold an 14-4 record in the month of March; 3-0 vs. A-Sun competition.

NEUTRAL SITE GAMES
Since moving to Division I in 2007-08, the Green and Blue have compiled a 12-2 record in neutral site contests. FGCU’s two neutral site losses came at the hands of the BGSU Falcons (74-60) at the Cornell Classic in Ithaca, N.Y. on Nov. 30, 2007 and NC State (69-64) in Hawaii this season (Dec. 28).

AWAY FROM HOME
FGCU has an 89-28 all-time record as the visiting team. Since moving to Division I, the Eagles have compiled a 45-21 road record.

EIGHT CONSECUTIVE 21-WIN SEASONS
The Eagles secured their eighth-straight 21+ win season with a 70-60 victory at JU (Feb. 4). The Green and Blue now have nine 21+ win seasons in the 10-year program history. The lone year that the Eagles failed to win 21 games was during the 2003-04 campaign, when FGCU went 18-8.

Over the last eight seasons, the Eagles have accumulated 213 wins and 39 losses.

3-TIME A-SUN REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS
FGCU captured the program’s third A-Sun Regular Season crown with their 79-56 win over Stetson (Feb. 18). The Eagles’ other two regular-season championships came in 2010-11 and 2008-09. FGCU finished both the 2010-11 and 2008-09 campaigns with a 17-3 record in A-Sun play

The Eagles have won 13+ A-Sun games all five seasons in the conference. FGCU is 82-12 in conference play over the last five years and has won 45 of its last 50 Atlantic Sun regular season games over the past three seasons.

LOCK IT UP
FGCU clinched the program’s first spot in the A-Sun Tournament with a 58-51 win over Kennesaw State on Jan. 28.

With their 79-56 win over Stetson (Feb. 18), the Eagles secured the outright A-Sun Regular Season title and the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Sun Tournament.

HISTORY BUFFS
With their win over the Lady Bucs on Sat. Feb. 25, the Eagles became just the third team (second school) to go undefeated in A-Sun play. FIU completed the feat twice as a member of the A-Sun (1992-93 & 1995-96).

The win also gave FGCU 18 A-Sun wins on the year, which tied the 2009-10 ETSU Lady Bucs squad for the most conference victories in a season.

With their 18-0 conference record the Green and Blue became the first team in A-Sun history to go 18-0 in a season.

DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
In their last 12 games, FGCU held their opponents to just 55, 51, 61, 60, 54, 34, 56, 63, 64, 63, 53 and 39 points, respectively. The Eagles, who lead the conference in scoring defense (52.6 ppg), have held opponents below 65 points 28 times this season, while also holding this year’s opponents below 55 points or fewer on 18 occasions.

HANDLING BUSINESS IN ROAD CONFERENCE GAMES
FGCU went 9-0 in A-Sun road contests this season, defeating every conference opponent on their home court.

The Eagles won the games by an average of 17.1 points and shot 45.0 percent (225-of-500) from the floor and 36.4 percent (82-of-225) from behind the arc, while the opposition is shooting 192-of-476 (40.3 percent) from the field and 37-of-117 (31.6 percent) from three-point range.

BREAKING RECORDS
The FGCU women’s basketball team knocked down an all-time NCAA record and 2011-12 NCAA single-game high 21 three-pointers on 51 long range attempts in their 106-27 over NAIA foe Webber International on Nov. 28, 2011 at Alico Arena.  The Eagles’ 21 three-point ranks them tied for first place tie all-time with New Mexico State. The Aggies drained 21 triples against Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 23, 2002. The 21 threes are also an A-Sun record, as FGCU made six treys in the first half and 15 in the second.

NATION’S BEST
FGCU’s three-point prowess has been the program’s calling card from day one and the 2011-12 version of the Eagles is no different. FGCU leads the nation with an average of 10.8 threes per game, just 0.4 trifectas in front of second place UT Martin (10.4). As a team, FGCU has drained double-digit threes in 18 games this season.

RANK   TEAM           3-PT FG/GAME
1.       FGCU                 10.8
2.       UT Martin           10.4
3.       Fresno State        9.8
T-4.    Youngstown St.    9.2
T-4.    Charleston So.     9.2

THREE IS THE KEY
• The Eagles are 23-0 this season when shooting 23 or more three-pointers.
• The Green and Blue are 23-1 on the year when they drain eight or more shots from beyond the arc.
• FGCU is 28-2 this season when they knock down more three-point shots than their opponent.

GUNNIN’ FOR THE NCAA RECORD
The Eagles, who own the A-Sun’s single season record for three-pointers (350; 2010-11), are six triples away from breaking the NCAA record for three-pointers in a season (340; 2009-10), which is currently held by Morehead St. FGCU’s 350 trifectas in 2010-11 weren’t a NCAA record because the Eagles were ineligible to set NCAA records due to the 4-year reclassifying period.

3’S PLEASE!
In the program’s nine-year history (309) games, FGCU has made at least one three-pointer in 308 contests, including 196 straight. The last and lone time the Eagles didn’t knock down a three was February 21, 2006 at Lynn. During the current 196-game run, the Green and Blue have knocked down 1,916 money balls while their opponents have knocked down 901 threes. In games that it has drained double-digit threes, FGCU is 117-8 all-time and 72-6 since moving to Division I in 2007-08.

RAPID FIRE
Surrounding its opponents with a balanced scoring attack, FGCU has knocked down 335 threes this season compared to just 95 from its opponents. Led by Kelsey Jacobson’s 2.6 trifectas per contest, six different players have made 32 or more shots from long range. The Eagles have four players ranked in the A-Sun’s top-15 in 3-point field goals made per game.

A-SUN ALL-TIME LEADER
Kelsey Jacobson now has 329 career triples and sits alone as the A-Sun’s all-time leader in career three-pointers.  The previous record holder was former Stetson Hatter Kristen Follis (275; 1990-94).

A-SUN TOURNEY RECORD
The Eagles knocked down 11-of-20 and 11-of-28 shots from behind the arc in their semifinal and championship game of the A-Sun Tournament (vs Kennesaw St.; vs Stetson). The 11 treys tied an A-Sun Tournament record. FGCU holds the record with the 1999-2000 Jacksonville State squad that hit 11 three-pointers against Jacksonville vs. Jacksonville.

MAKING A LIVING FROM LONG RANGE
It’s no secret that Kelsey Jacobson is FGCU’s top three-point threat. Through 123 career games, Jacobson has knocked down 329 three-pointers and on Feb. 7, 2011 vs. ETSU, she became FGCU’s all-time leader in three-pointers in just three seasons. Jacobson, who currently holds the Atlantic Sun record for three-pointers in a season (96), has made a three in 91 of her last 97 contests and 113 of 123 for her career. During her career, Jacobson has made 3+ threes 53 times, 5+ threes on 17 occasions and a career-best of eight twice.

Ranking 1st in the A-Sun and 27th in the nation at 2.6 treys per game, 80 of Jacobson’s 95 made field goals this season have come from beyond the arc. The Barnesville, Minn. native has made multi-threes in 19 of 31 games this season.

HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE THE COMPETITION
Kelsey Jacobson has 329 career three-pointers made. She currently ranks 2nd in the nation (among active players) in career three-pointers behind St. Bonaventure senior Jessica Jenkins (331).

AMONG THE BEST
With at least one game remaining in her collegiate career, Kelsey Jacobson is on pace to finish with 332 career three-pointers made, which would rank her 13th in NCAA Division I history.

ON A ROLL
Kelsey Jacobson, one of the best shooters in the country, knocked down 14 consecutive three-pointers over two games to rank tied-1st with Portland’s Deana Lansing (1996) in the NCAA Record Books for consecutive three-pointers made in a season.

Jacobson made 6 consecutive vs. Alcorn State (Dec. 30) and followed that performance by knocking down her first 8 shots from behind the arc at Mercer (Jan. 2).

ALL WE DO IS WIN
Since joining the A-Sun in 2007-08, the Eagles have 129 victories, which ranks them first all-time in conference history for wins in a 5-year span. The previous record (125) was held by FIU (1994-98).

The Green and Blue also have 57 wins over the last two seasons and now own the best 2-year win total in conference history. The Eagles’ 52 wins from 2009-11 and FIU’s 52 wins from 1993-95 now rank second in A-Sun history.

WE ARE...FGCU
Finishing the regular season 18-0 in A-Sun action, FGCU is one of eight teams in the nation that went undefeated in conference play (Delaware, St. Bonaventure, Baylor, Princeton, Stanford, American, Middle Tenn.). Also, with a 29-2 overall record, the Eagles are one of nine 29+ win teams in the nation (Baylor, Notre Dame, Stanford, Green Bay, Delaware, UTEP, UConn, St. Bonaventure - thru games played on Mar. 11).

GET THAT OUTTA HERE
Whitney Knight ranks 2nd in the A-Sun with 1.7 blocks per game (53 total blocks). Her 1.7 blocks rank her 65th in the nation (as of Mar. 11), while her 53 blocks rank her 2nd in FGCU history behind Robyn Swain (121).

PESKY DEFENDER
Brittany Kennedy leads the Eagles in steals and is second on the team in rebounds. The Oregon State transfer ranked 2nd in the conference in steals (in A-Sun Reg Season games) and has registered a steal in 20 of 24 games she has played in.

Kennedy has also shown flashes of being a lock-down defender. She held A-Sun leading scorer Briana Williams (Mercer) to 3pts and 7pts in their two meetings and forced 2012 A-Sun Player of the Year Victoria McGowan (Stetson) into 12 TOs in two games. Kennedy also helped limit A-Sun Freshman of the Year Taylor Mills to six points, on 3-of-10 shooting, and five turnovers in their A-Sun Semifinal matchup.

LEAVING A MARK ON THE FGCU RECORD BOOKS
Courtney Chihil has scored 1009 points, made 121 three-pointers, grabbed 599 rebounds, recorded 198 steals and dished out 331 assists in her four-year career in the FGCU Blue and Green.

She is currently at or near the top five in all five of those categories:

Points
1. 1415 - Adrianne MCNALLY (128 games) - 2006-10
2.   1260 - Kelsey JACOBSON (123 games) - 2008-Present
3. 1185 - Shannon MURPHY (124 games) - 2007-11
4. 1062 - Kate SCHRADER (65 games) - 2005-07
5. 1009 - Courtney CHIHIL (119 games) - 2008-Present

3-point field goals made
1.   329 - Kelsey JACOBSON (123 games) - 2008-Present

5. 133 - Jen CONELY (66 games) - 2005-07
6.   121 - Courtney CHIHIL (119 games) - 2008-Present

Rebounds
1. 658 - Adrianne MCNALLY (240o-418d) - 2006-10
2. 640 - Robyn SWAIN (236o-404d) - 2002-04
3.   599 - Courtney CHIHIL (182o-417d) - 2008-Present

Steals
1.   198 - Courtney CHIHIL - 2008-Present

2.  168 - Shannon MURPHY - 2007-11

Assists
1. 419 - Shannon MURPHY - 2007-11
2. 338 - Megan JONES - 2002-05
3. 335 - Adrianne MCNALLY - 2006-10
4.   331 - Courtney CHIHIL - 2008-Present

THE BIG 3
Sarah Hansen, Nicoya Jackson, and Kelsey Jacobson have combined to account for 45.8 percent (34.2 points per game) of FGCU’s scoring. The trio is also shooting .436 (346-of-793) from the floor and .341 (134-of-393) from long distance.

BALANCED ATTACK
With two players averaging double figure points and four more at 8.0 points per game or higher, FGCU is first the A-Sun in scoring at a 74.7 per game clip. The Eagles have scored 80 or more points eight times this season and are the only A-Sun team with a scoring margin larger than 5.0 points (+22.1). Six different players have led the Blue and Green in scoring this season, led by 14 from Sarah Hansen, six from Kelsey Jacobson, four from Eglah Griffin, and two from Nicoya Jackson, Courtney Chihil, Amber Rechis and Whitney Knight.

PROTECTING THE ROCK
Shooting an A-Sun-best 43.8 percent from the field, the Eagles lead the league with a +6.61 turnover margin. Courtney Chihil, who ranks 7th in the A-Sun in assists (3.2), leads the conference with a 2.1 assist/turnover ratio. Brittany Kennedy ranks 2nd with a 1.8 ratio while also ranking t-5th in the A-Sun at 3.5 assists per game.

CAPITAL 1 ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT 4 FIRST TEAM
Courtney Chihil and Sarah Hansen were named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District 4 Women’s Basketball first team (Feb. 2), as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Members of CoSIDA conduct nominations and voting for the All-America programs.

The District 4 team is made up of student-athletes from Division I schools in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and South Carolina. To be nominated, student-athletes must be at least a sophomore, a starter or important reserve and must carry a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or higher.

Chihil and Hansen are now eligible to be selected as members of the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot, where first, second and third team All-America honorees will be selected at the end of February.

FGCU RANKED #3 IN MID-MAJOR POLL
The Florida Gulf Coast women’s basketball team earned the No. 3 spot, for the eighth consecutive week, in this week’s version of the CollegeInsider.com Women’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll that was released on Tuesday evening (March 6). Delaware and Green Bay are the two teams ranked higher than FGCU in this week’s poll. The Eagles trail the Phoenix by 28 points for the No. 2 slot.

The Mid-Major Poll is made up of teams from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, West Coast Conference.

PICKIN’ UP VOTES IN THE NATIONAL POLLS
The FGCU women’s basketball team received 23 votes to rank No. 27 in this week’s USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches’ Poll that was released on Monday, Mar. 12. The Eagles also received 13 votes to rank No. 29 in this week’s AP Top 25.

This marks the 11th time in program history that the Eagles have earned votes in both polls in the same week.

RATING PERCENTAGE INDEX (RPI)
In the Collegiate Basketball News Women’s RPI College Basketball Ratings (for games through Mar. 11), the Eagles were ranked No. 57 and were the only A-Sun school ranked in the top 120.

GETTIN’ LOVE FROM ESPN
In the sixth edition (Mar. 1) of the mid-major top 10 written by ESPN’s Graham Hayes, the Eagles picked up the No. 4 spot. The mid-major top 10 returns with the same ground rules. All conferences beyond the BCS six (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) qualify for consideration.

Here’s what Hayes said about FGCU:

4. Florida Gulf Coast (27-2 overall, 18-0 Atlantic Sun)
The Eagles do two things really well, one better than any other team in Division I. The latter relates to the 3-pointer. No team hits more of them per game than Florida Gulf Coast at almost 11 3-pointers per game, and not many teams shoot them more accurately than nearly 36.8 percent in the regular season. Six players average at least one 3-pointer per game, a list that doesn’t include leading scorer Sarah Hansen. Florida Gulf Coast’s other specialty is forcing turnovers, something it did 20.7 times per game in the regular season. The team’s leading scorer and rebounder in the regular season, Hansen also doubles as the Atlantic Sun’s Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Mechelle Voepel in her Feb. 24 blog entry mentioned head coach Karl Smesko as a candidate for national coach of the year.

Here’s what Voepel said about Smesko:
Florida Gulf Coast’s Karl Smesko: He has the Eagles soaring in the first season they are eligible for the Division I NCAA tournament. They are 25-2 overall and 17-0 in the Atlantic Sun.