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Preview: USA @ FAU

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Preview: USA @ FAU

USA (8-5) @ FAU (4-9)
Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009
2:15 p.m. ET

The Series

USA leads the all-time series 3-1 and won both meetings last season. USA won 66-55 at the FAU Arena on Jan. 2 of last season and 91-74 in Mobile on Feb. 16. FAU defeated USA 79-69 at the FAU Arena two seasons ago. FAU plays USA in Mobile on Saturday, February 14. The teams have split the two games at FAU Arena.

Welcome Home

FAU (4-9) will play on its home floor for the first time since December 13 and for just the fourth time all season when they host South Alabama New Year's Day. Commenting on FAU's road-heavy schedule, "I forgot what it was like to play at home," sophomore Brett Royster said in a radio interview last week. "Going back home is always a good thing and always fun," said Paul Graham III after the game at UK . "That's the best thing for any team, so returning home will be uplifting for us." Graham, one of the league's top scorers, and senior classmates G Carderro Nwoji and F Carlos Monroe are hoping to lead FAU to its first Sun Belt win of the year. FAU has started the league schedule 0-2 with losses at Denver 66-55 on December 16 and at Troy 94-87 December 18. The Owls are 3-0 at home and will play SBC rivals Western Kentucky and FIU at the FAU Arena in the coming weeks. FAU turned in a spirited performance in a 76-69 loss at UK on Monday, prompting some of the 24,018 in attendance at Rupp Arena to applaud the Owls' for their effort as they left the court.

USA at a Glance

The Jaguars (8-5) and head coach Ronnie Arrow receive a league-leading 18.6 points per game from senior G Domonic Tilford. USA was 16-2 against the Sun Belt last year en route to finishing 26-7 and receiving an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. This year's USA squad ranks 31st among all NCAA teams in 3-point shooting % (38.3) and 24th in rebounding margin with +8.8. They also lead the league in FG% (47.6) and assists (15.1 apg). The Jaguars are averaging 74 points per game but have scored 66 or less in each of its last three against DI opponents. A 62-57 win at FIU and a 69-66 home loss to Western Kentucky preceded a lopsided victory over NAIA member Spring Hill 88-56 on Sunday.

Media Coverage

Evan Cohen will call the game for WFTL - 640 AM with additional audio links available via FAUSPORTS.com.  GAMETRACKER will also be provided on FAUSPORTS.com.

Latest Line

USA - 2

Owl's Nest Prediction

If the Owls shoot they way they did at Rupp Arena, they would finish the SBC Slate undefeated.  They need to continue to take care of the ball the way they did at UK as well.  USA is one of the best Teams in the SBC.  However, FAU can win it with consistent play the entire game.  Otherwise:

USA -4

Additional Sources:  FAU Media Relations

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Re: Preview: USA @ FAU

FYI: Tilford and Gagel attended the same high school. Tilford was a senior when Nick was a freshman.
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