COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — When it was time for film study this week, Southern California coach Andy Enfield took an unconventional route and dipped into his archives. Before focusing on Michigan State, he showed his players older NCAA Tournament clips.
The Trojans got schooled on Dunk City.
“Just to get them pumped up to play in this tournament,” Enfield said.
It’s been 10 years since Enfield’s life changed forever when he helped put tiny Florida Gulf Coast University on the map with a magical run through March.
A No. 15 seed, the high-flying Eagles stunned No. 2 Georgetown and dunked on San Diego State to make the Sweet 16 before losing to Florida.
So while preparing his No. 10 seed Trojans (22-10) for their first-round East Region matchup against the No. 7 seed Spartans (19-12), Enfield relived some of those moments from a 2013 team that defied long odds.
“It’s amazing, it’s been 10 years,” he said Thursday before his team’s workout in Nationwide Arena. “Dunk City Team was a group of young men that came together that had no clue what they were getting in for. We were a young staff and a brand-new school. I’ve been emailing and texting a lot of the highlights.”
Now in his 10th season at USC, Enfield has remained close with many of those FGCU players, some of whom followed him into coaching. Others are still playing overseas while others have become successful businessmen.
They share a bond that was born with a pair of upsets as the Eagles grew from double-digit nobodies into one of those feel-good, Cinderella stories that makes the NCAA tourney so unique.
“What they did on the basketball court was special, and to do that in March Madness was incredible,” Enfield said. “So Dunk City will always be remembered. I usually think about it this time more so than June or July when I’m on a golf course.
“But what just a special group of young men, and it’s really nice that my family still has a relationship with a lot of those guys.”
As for his current team, Enfield believes it has improved more than any other during his tenure in Los Angeles. The season opened with a 74-61 home loss to FGCU — yes, that FGCU — bringing criticism to the 53-year-old Enfield and a team always in UCLA’s shadow.
But after a 4-3 start, the Trojans won seven straight and finished 14-6 in the Pac-12. USC lost to Arizona State in its first game in the conference tournament, but Enfield likes how his team is playing.
On Friday, USC will meet a Michigan State team has grown even closer following the on-campus tragedy when a gunman killed three students and wounded five more.
Coach Tom Izzo has the Spartan s in the tournament for the 25th straight season and Enfield isn’t expecting any surprises.
“They’ll play their style like we will,” he said. “We have strengths and we’ll try to play to our strengths, like Michigan State. It’s very difficult as a coach to say, hey, we’ve been doing something for 31, 32 games and now we’ll do something different because of who we play or now we’re in the postseason.”