Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Owls Looking To Take Care Of Unfinished Business

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

The FAU Owls Men’s Basketball Team is back in the NCAA Tournament with unfinished business. 

This is a veteran team that joined the American Athletic Conference and played not only a tough non-conference schedule which did include a win over Arizona, but fared well in the AAC. 

The Owls finished the season with a 25-8 record and was second in the conference.

FAU’s last loss occurred on Saturday as the Temple Owls nipped their Owls counterparts 74-73. Temple finished the season with a 16-20 mark and was 10th in the AAC.

Prior to the AAC Tournament, the Owls were battle tested.

On February 25, Memphis edged FAU in Tennessee 78-74.

On Saturday, March 2, I attended the FAU vs Tulane game and the Owls defeated the Green Wave 79-73. 

I asked Head Coach Dusty May how he felt about his team and he was extremely positive but knew he had a tough week ahead of him as his squad needed to win the final two regular season games to have a shot at the NCAA Tournament.

FAU did just that as it won on the road vs North Texas 80-76. Johnell Davis led the team in scoring with 29 points with five rebounds, and four assists. Nick Boyd added 13 points and center Vladislav Goldin amassed 11 points to go along with five rebounds.

On Saturday, March 9, the Memphis Tigers came to town on Senior Day and the Owls looked like a poised and possessed squad in the rematch at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena.

Led by Goldin, who had 21 points and 12 rebounds, FAU defeated Memphis 92-84. 

FAU out rebounded Memphis 40-28 and controlled the offensive boards, 16-10. FAU led in points in the paint 46-24 and second chance points 20-13. FAU scored 16 points off turnovers while Memphis had nine.

This game was nationally televised on CBS and before the game Athletic Director Brian White told me that this was the biggest game in FAU Men’s Basketball history. 

This victory sent a message to the NCAA Tournament Committee that the Owls deserve to return to the “Big Dance” which subsequently happened.

Despite the University of South Florida winning the AAC Regular season title, the Bulls inability to win the conference tournament sent them to the NIT.

After the game, I asked May if he felt better than he did a week ago about his team and you can see his response in the video.

Meanwhile, Memphis Coach Penny Hardaway was pleased with his team’s 22-10 record which was fifth in the AAC. 

But he was impressed with the Owls and is optimistic that FAU can make some noise in the NCAA Tournament.

You can see Hardaway’s comment in this story as well.

The Owls defeated North Texas 77-71 in the first round of the AAC Tournament on March 15, then lost to Temple the next day. 

FAU’s opening round opponent is the Northwestern Wildcats who were 21-11 and fourth in the Big Ten.

Northwestern is 6-4 in their last 10 games, and are coached by Cris Collins, the son of former NBA player and coach Doug Collins.

The Owls enter this game as the eighth seed while the Wildcats are ninth. FAU is 7-3 in their last 10 contest.

The game on Friday starts at 12:15 PM.

This year’s NCAA Appearance is the Owls third in program history.

There is no doubt that the rumors are going to be swirling about whether May will be coaching next year. But FAU is looking to prolong any speculation at least for a few weeks.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@Gmail.com. You can contact him on Twitter/X @TribuneSouth.

To see his broadcasts, Subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.

Scott has a book “Lessons From The Microphone” which can be purchased on Amazon, Kindle and Barnes & Noble.




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