Sitting among the retirement condos and palm trees of Boca Raton is the campus of Florida Atlantic University. The Owls men's basketball team is in the Final Four thanks to wins over No. 8 seed Memphis, No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson University, No. 4 seed Tennessee and No. 3 seed Kansas State. Here are five things to know about the Florida Atlantic Owls.
1. Lots of Firsts
Like San Diego State University and Miami University, FAU finds itself in the Final Four for the first time in school history. But the firsts don't just start there. The Owls got their first Division I postseason win ever this year when they beat Memphis 66-65. In their only other Division I men's basketball tournament appearance, they lost as a No. 15 seed to No. 2 seed Alabama. They hadn't even won in the National Invitation Tournament, the College Basketball Invitational or the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament prior to this year. They finished first this year in the Conference USA during the regular season and won their first C-USA conference tournament. This is only their 20th year as a Division I program, having joined D-I during the 1993-94 season. The program itself was founded in 1988.
2. All They Do Is Win
The FAU Owls lead the country in wins this season with a current record of 35-3. Thirty-five wins is easily the most in the program's history and marks only the third time ever that they won more than 20 games in a season. In C-USA play, they were 18-2. Against the KenPom Top 50 teams in the nation, they are 6-1 this season. Against the SEC, one of the stronger conferences this year, the Owls are 2-1, beating Tennessee in the Sweet 16 and Florida back in November. FAU is currently riding an 11-game winning streak, having not lost since Feb. 16.
3. Dusty May's Magic
Dusty May has only had one head coaching job in his career, and that is with the FAU Owls. He was named head coach of the Owls on March 22, 2018. He has never had a losing record as head coach of FAU and currently holds a 101-46 record. The 46-year-old May, who went to Indiana University, was a student manager there for Bob Knight. May then went on to be an assistant coach for Eastern Michigan, Murray State, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Louisiana Tech and Florida. Because of the historic season FAU has had this year, May was named C-USA Coach of the Year.
4. Roster Depth
FAU is not afraid to go deep into its bench during a game. According to KenPom, the Owls rank 15th in the nation in bench minutes and led the 68-team tournament field in that category. Nine players on the team have averaged at least 15 minutes per game during the season. The depth allows FAU to be aggressive on both sides of the ball. The Owls will go half court to pressure offenses into making mistakes.
5. Johnell Davis
Johnell Davis, a 6-foot-4 sophomore guard from Gary, Indiana, led the Owls in scoring this season with 13.9 points per game. During the tournament, he's averaging 17.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Against Fairleigh Dickinson, Davis became the first player in NCAA Tournament history to have at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals in one game.
Florida Atlantic University plays San Diego State University on Saturday at 6:09 p.m. Eastern on CBS.
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