Published On: Thu, Mar 16th, 2023

Florida Atlantic is Ready for its Moment

March Madness presents an opportunity for schools across the land to share their stories and showcase school pride. The first Division I NCAA men’s basketball tournament took place in 1939. Twenty-two years later, 1961, Florida Atlantic University was founded, in the heart of “Paradise.” Thirty-two years later, 1993, Florida Atlantic moved to the NCAA Division I, the highest collegiate level. Fast forward 30 years and the Owls are in the midst of their greatest season on the hardwood joining the University’s exponential rise.

The Owls, for only the second time in school history and the first since 2002, are in March Madness. FAU is the No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament after a historic regular season. The Big Dance will feature FAU up against the No. 8 seed Memphis in the East Region.

FAU’s historic season has shattered several records, both on the school and conference level, and has captivated the community of South Florida. The Owls’ 31 wins are 10 above the previous school record. Their 18 conference wins are the most in Conference USA history. Their 17-0 perfect 2022-23 home slate was a school-first. “Paradise” was defended. The final home game of the year in Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena ended with the Owls hoisting the regular-season championship trophy under raining confetti in front of a seventh-straight sellout crowd.

Best of all, for the first time in school history, FAU cut down the nets for a second time as C-USA Champions in Frisco, Texas, after a blowout, 22-point win over UAB in the championship game. It marked the first time that FAU has won the conference tourney in its 10-year run as a member of C-USA, and this year is also the Owls’ last with the conference. That’s the beauty of being such a young program among the collegiate storied, experiencing “firsts,” “bests” and “onlys.”

These Owls have bigger goals. Florida Atlantic University has bigger goals.MBB Team Celebration

Florida Atlantic, a school located just 1.8 miles from the Atlantic Ocean in beautiful, sunny Boca Raton can only fly under the radar for so long. As the campus, which was originally a World War II Army airfield that operated the only training for the then new secret technology of radar, transforms all eyes will turn to the Owls and “Winning in Paradise.”

There’s so much to love surrounding these Owls, especially from it growing alumni and a fledgling basketball community.

The team’s selfless leader, head coach Dusty May, oozes with contagious energy, directed with Midwest charm and a positive spirit.

The terms “starters” and “bench” don’t mean much to the squad. These Owls are deep and have enjoyed multiple scoring leaders throughout the year. No one cares whose names are announced during pre-game or who logs the most minutes. Their only final box score interest is the final score.

The roster has it all: long-timers, transfers, highly touted and those who may have been relatively unknown. These Owls are poised and humble, but often flash that south Florida swagger. Watching them is fun and contagious for the basketball purist.

They’ve prepared for this moment. Now, the entire Florida Atlantic community readies for its moment.

Long before Florida Atlantic University existed, university communities rallied around the college basketball championship tournament. Now it’s Florida Atlantic’s turn. Be ready for the moment.

Take pride, Owls. These young men represent you.

Take pride, future Owls. You will soon be a part of this story.

Take pride, Florida Atlantic alum. This team is a result of the foundation you helped to build.

Take pride, Boca Raton. This is your hometown team.

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