Florida Gulf Coast kicked off the NCAA tournament in style Tuesday night, throttling Fairleigh Dickinson in their First Four matchup. The Eagles advance to play No. 1 seed North Carolina in Raleigh on Thursday.

By David Gardner
March 15, 2016

What happened

Florida Gulf Coast jumped out to an 11–0 lead and never looked back. By halftime, the Eagles—who are still known as “Dunk City” despite decidedly few dunks—had a 21-point lead. Fairleigh Dickinson only got within 15 once in the second half, and FGCU prevailed 96–65.

Why it matters

FGCU will have a shot to make history by becoming the first No. 16 seed ever to beat a No. 1 ... but more likely it’ll just be getting an all-expenses paid trip to Raleigh where it’ll be throttled by North Carolina in front of a de facto home crowd. Still, it’s nice to see the Eagles flying again after a two-year absence from the Big Dance.

SI’s experts fill out their 2016 NCAA tournament brackets

What’s next

Florida Gulf Coast faces North Carolina at 7:20 p.m. on Thursday. Despite Dunk City’s impressive performance on Tuesday night, it’s unlikely the Eagles will upend a UNC team fresh off stymieing fellow No. 1 seed Virginia in the ACC tournament championship game. 

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