Two days after an improbable victory over the state of Ohio, 2 seeds, Oral Roberts started again. On Sunday, the Golden Eagles beat the 7-seeded Florida 81-78 in the second round of the NCAA tournament, moving up to Sweet 16 in the process.
The win marked not only March Madness’s second win for the program since 1974, but also the second time, ever, a seed of 15 had qualified for the second weekend of play. The first time this happened, It was in 2013, when Florida’s Gulf Coast “Dunk City” stormed March Madness with a string of shaky dunks and a pair of wins.
Considering the historically rare achievement of Oral Roberts and the FGCU, it is only natural that the two teams are faced with comparisons. Here’s how Oral Roberts stacks up against this top-flight Eagles team, including opponents, margin of victory, key players and more.
Story of 15 seeds in Sweet 16
As reported, Oral Roberts in 2021 only became the second 15th seed to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Their predecessors, the 2013 Florida Gulf Coast team, were the first to accomplish this feat. The Eagles faced 3-seeded Florida in the 2013 Sweet 16, losing to the Gators 62-50 and ending their run at Cinderella.
Oddly enough, Oral Roberts faces his own 3-seeded SEC opponent in Arkansas. Will the Golden Eagles venture into new territory for a 15 seed, or will the Golden Eagles suffer the same fate as FGCU?
Oral Roberts, FGCU Sweet 16
Florida Gulf Coast: Georgetown 2 Seed, San Diego State 7 Seed, Florida 3 Seed
The Eagles, winners of the 2013 Atlantic Sun Tournament, tied at Georgetown, 2 seeds, an all-around offer, in the first round of March Madness. FGCU shocked John Thompson III’s Hoyas, beating them 78-68 for a double-digit victory. Two days later, the Eagles pulled it off again with another 10-point victory over the 7th-seeded San Diego State, a Midwestern at-large. Florida’s Gulf Coast dream season ended with a loss to Florida, 3 seeds, one at-large, in the Sweet 16.
Oral Roberts: 2-seeded Ohio State, 7-seeded Florida, 3-seeded Arkansas
The Golden Eagles, who earned their place in the tournament by beating North Dakota in the 2021 Summit League tournament final, won their first offer since 2008. Oral Roberts has drawn Ohio State, the sixth seed in the league. Big Ten tournament and finalist, for his troubles. But the Golden Eagles fought the Buckeyes throughout the game, ultimately pulling out with a 75-72 overtime win. The Golden Eagles faced an equally tough challenge against Florida in the second round, having to overcome an 11-point deficit in the 9:43 final to come back from behind and win 81-78.
Margin of victory
Florida Gulf Coast: 10 points per game
Oral Roberts: Three points per game
Statistics reflect NCAA tournament numbers
Florida Gulf Coast
- Sherwood Brown: 18.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.3 spg, .559 field goal percentage
- Bernard Thompson: 10 ppg, 5.3 Rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.3 spg, 1.7 bpg, .542 field goal percentage
- Brett Comer: 8.7 ppg, 10.3 apg, 4.0 rpg,
- Chase Fieler: 17.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 2.0 spg
Most in charge was head guard Sherwood Brown, the 2012-13 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year who shockingly started his career as a walk-on at the FGCU. Second-year goaltender Bernard Thompson and junior Chase Fieler also averaged in double digits for the tournament, while second-year goaltender Brett Comer was the only player to average more than 10 assists per game.
- Max Abmas: 27.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.0 apg, .421 field goal percentage, .411 3 point percentage
- Kevin Obanor: 29.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 0.486 field goal percentage
Sophomore guard Max Abmas may make headlines for his incredible play – he led all Division I players in points per game ahead of the tournament – but junior forward Kevin Obanor was equally impressive in the opening rounds . Both players are averaging nearly 30 points per game, while Obanor averaged a double-double with 11 rebounds in each of his first two games.