1. FGCU suddenly has some depth issues with the injury to Bernard Thompson and the suspension of Erik McKnight. How will that impact what the Eagles want to do on either end of the court?
The depth issues, combined with the new strict rules of hand checking, etc that have resulted in crazy amounts of foul shots in exhibitions, will probably cause FGCU to be a little more conservative on defense. If Comer and Thompson (if he even plays) get in early foul trouble, Graf is the only other guard with prior FGCU experience. Outside of that, the Eagles would have to go directly to walk-ons. On the offensive end I wouldn't expect much of a change. The Eagles could be less aggressive then they would like to be in the lane but outside of that I wouldn't expect a huge difference. Dooley said Thompson is day to day.
2. FGCU were the darlings of the tournament last year. How did that run impact the program? How is the program perceived now compared to this time last year or even going into the tournament?
I don't think the effects of their Sweet Sixteen run can be over exaggerated. They already have two commits in the class of 2014. One is Christian Terrell, whom I'm sure you've seen before. The second is guard Zach Johnson, who held offers from Butler and La Salle but chose the Eagles instead. I'm sure if FGCU lost in the first round, it would be a different story. They're also getting more recognition from the national media. FGCU's Dunk City After Dark (Midnight Madness) was featured in ESPNU's Midnight Madness Tip-Off. Prior to last season, and even during the season it was more of just a college in Fort Myers. Now Fort Myers is Dunk City and the people of the town are more invested in the school and the basketball team. Even the student body, including FGCU's student section the "Dirty Birds" have a bigger sense of school spirit.
3. The Eagles are breaking in a new coach in Joe Dooley who came over from Kansas. What sense do you get about what he wants to do differently from Enfield?
He expressed how he still wants to run a bit, and maintain the style that got them the nickname Dunk City. At the same time, the personnel and current suspension/injuries may not allow that initially. I know Bill Self at Kansas liked the high-low game but it is yet to be seen whether Dooley will put that into play here at FGCU. This game will be a huge teller on what he plans to do.
4. I don’t know how much you know about the history of Nebraska basketball, but we’ve never made it past the first game of the tournament. Ever. There were a lot of people around here seriously jealous of what FGCU did last year. What was it like as a fan to watch your team go on that run and become all the rage in March?
It was one of the craziest experiences ever as a fan. Not just that they made it to the Sweet Sixteen, but the way they did it: Sherwood Brown shaking the announcer's hand before the game even ended, the manager dancing in the post-game locker room. It encapsulated what FGCU basketball meant. Not only that but when making brackets and picking FGCU, and trying to convince people that FGCU was going to upset Georgetown and then they actually did it! It was so memorable and so exhilarating. I can still remember the announcer's call of the Comer to Fieler dunk. From one fan to another, I hope Nebraska hoops fans one day have a chance to experience something like it.
Thanks, Liam. It should be an exciting evening of basketball between these two teams. You can find my questions to his answers over at fgcueaglesnest.com