As a media observer, the Florida Golf Coast University Eagles’ soaring into the Sweet Sixteen should be the sports universe’s feel good story of the year.
A program that’s just twenty-two years young, they just became eligible for Division I postseason play last year.
And what do they do their first time ever in the big dance? They only send a 2-seed and a 7-seed packing, beating both the Georgetown Hoyas and San Diego State Aztecs, respectively, by exactly ten points.
Oh, and they’ve only made history by becoming the lowest seed ever to advance to the fourth round of the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
This Eagles team has shown more life in Philadelphia this past weekend than that city’s NFL team has last year.
And now, FGCU is thrust into the media spotlight for the remainder of the week, as they prepare for a matchup with the cross-state rivals, the Florida Gators.
And rightfully so. It’s a phenomenal underdog story that everybody can relate to.
Unfortunately, I thought TBS’ latest spelling gaffe of an Eagles player was going to be the only disrespect at FGCU’s expense.
Then, I read what New York Post’s sports media columnist Phil “Get Off My Lawn” Mushnick had to say about it.
“Throughout the first week of CBS/Turner’s NCAA Tournament presentation, the networks went ESPN on us,” Mushnick complained. “The message was clear and repetitive: If you act like a self-impressed fool, we’ll minimally reward you with a slow-motion cameo. And the more you betray the sport as a sport, the greater the televised rewards.”
Then, after taking potshots at Marshall Henderson, guard for the Ole Miss Rebels, another low-seeded surprise of this year’s tournament that was actually eliminated on Sunday night by an even lower seeded team – Ole Miss is 12th, and the La Salle (Pa.) Explorers are 13th – Mushnick laid into the Eagles – namely their guard, Sherwood Brown.
“Near the end of the game, Brown, playing to the crowd and the TV cameras, walked over to Len Elmore, Reggie Miller and play-by-player Kevin Harlan and shook their hands. ‘Hah, hah, hah! He’s loving it!’ we were told. But if only one of them had refused his hand and pointed him back on the court to finish the game and show it some respect…”
Mushnick also lamented CBS’ selection of a highlight of Brown that played over him during a live joint interview with him and Eagles coach Andy Enfield (which, by the way, don’t get too attached to him, Fort Myers). “As Brown spoke, CBS showed tape of him, after hitting a short jumper, in a demonstration of great self-regard. That was the chosen clip.”
Any regular reader of Mushnick’s Post columns knows the drill: He has the tendency to take a wholesome sports story and look at it in a pessimistic light.
His worst nightmare would probably be if Brown, Henderson, or any of the “self-impressed fools” that were in action this weekend were drafted by the Brooklyn Nets.
Brown’s exuberance leads Phil Mushnick to argue that “Florida Gulf Coast’s upset of Georgetown lost some of its wonder glow.”
This coming from the dimmest bulb in the sports media chain.
Enjoy the game.