USC coach Enfield relives Dunk City on eve of NCAA Tournament
Unconventional film study
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.
Thinking of Dunk City
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.
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.
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 Spartans 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.”