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The 2023-24 Guide to Eagles Basketball

Jessica Piland

FGCU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams are both quickly approaching the start of the new 2023-24 season in November. Sooner than fans would think, March Madness will be right around the corner in the spring.

For many students and fans on campus, basketball is the marquee sport at FGCU that everyone comes out for during the season. New students will be able to see it for themselves starting in November.

The basketball programs have accomplished a lot in their brief history of being an NCAA Division 1 program starting in the 2007-2008 season for both programs. They’ve been members of the ASUN Conference since.

Last season, the FGCU men’s and women’s basketball teams went in opposite directions from one another. 

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The women’s basketball team went 33-4 on the season under the only coach the program has ever known, Karl Smesko, winning the 2023 ASUN Women’s Basketball Tournament for the 10th  time, a record that automatically clinched FGCU a trip to the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament for the ninth time in the history of the program. 

The Eagles then faced the Pac-12 champions, fifth-seeded Washington State, and defeated them 74-63 in the first round of the tournament before falling to fourth-seeded Villanova in the next round, 76-57. FGCU finished the season ranked No. 24 in the country according to the final USA Today/Coaches Top 25 poll for 2022-23.

On the other hand, the men’s basketball team went 17-15 on the season under first-year head coach Pat Chambers, who previously coached at Penn State. The Eagles got off to a fast start, starting the season with a 12-3 record with a win at USC and winning the 2022 Gulf Coast Showcase in that time. After the hot start, the team cooled off after the start of 2023, making the 2023 ASUN Men’s Basketball Tournament only to fall to Queens (N.C.) 61-55 in the first round.

As for this season upcoming, the 2023-24 season at FGCU should be something to look forward to for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams among Eagle students and fans. Although the schedules aren’t completely finalized and released as of now, dates have been dropping for some matchups that will have excitement building until then. 

To open the 2023-24 FGCU men’s basketball season, the Eagles will be heading to Bloomington to face Indiana, one of the most storied programs in college basketball, on Tuesday, Nov. 7. It will be the start of Coach Chambers’ second season at FGCU and the opening matchup against Indiana will not only be a great test to start the year for the team, but Chambers’ return to Indiana after meeting them in Big 10 matchups while coaching at Penn State.

Additionally, the Eagles will compete in the 2023 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam Men’s Tournament held at the University of the Virgin Islands, Nov. 17-20. Other schools participating in the tournament include Abilene Christian University, Fordham University, Hampton University, Kent State University, Missouri State University, Norfolk State University and San Jose State University. FGCU will match up against Missouri State on Nov. 17 with a chance to move on to play the winner between Hampton and Kent State.

Less has been released about the upcoming 2023-2024 FGCU women’s basketball season so far, but the Eagles will be participating in the 2023 Clean Simple Eats Gulf Coast Showcase at local Hertz Arena, November 24-26. Each school is guaranteed three games and joining FGCU includes Kansas State University, Purdue Fort Wayne University, University of Delaware, University of Iowa, University of North Carolina, University of Vermont and Western Kentucky. A highlight among the visiting teams is Iowa, led by star player Caitlin Clark, who reached the national championship in last season’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, falling just short against LSU. FGCU will face off against Delaware on November 24 to open their competition at the Showcase.

Even though winning is the best thing to look forward to as a fan, new students at FGCU should be looking forward to the upcoming basketball season for their first experiences and memories.

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About the Contributors
James Curtis
James Curtis, Eagle News Sports Editor
James Curtis is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in global studies. He is from Tampa, FL, and has known he wanted to be a journalist since taking a journalism class in seventh grade. He has been involved in sports for his whole life, including swimming competitively all the way through high school. His goal now is to be a sports journalist. When not covering sports games or writing stories, he's usually spending his free time with his friends or watching YouTube.
Jessica Piland
Jessica Piland, Eagle News Photo Editor
Jessica Piland is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in global studies. She found her passion for photography during her senior year of high school after shooting some film for fun with her grandfather’s camera from the 80s. In addition to her work as photo editor for Eagle News, she works as a staff photographer for FGCU Athletics and is a photography intern with the University Marketing and Communications department. As she enters her third year as photo editor, she is excited for the fun stories, campus events, and breaking news that Eagle News will be covering!

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