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2023 ESPN Invitational Capsule

FAU Takes On Butler To Begin ESPN Invitational

What: #19 FAU (2-1) vs Butler (3-1)

When: Thu. Nov. 23rd, @ 2:30 PM

Where: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Series: First matchup.


Radio: FoxSports 640

Live Stats: Here

Line: FAU -4

FAU at a Glance

Offense - 76 PPG, 45% FG, 33% 3PT

Defense - 60 PPGA, 40% FGA, 26% 3PTA

Rebounding - 40 RPG Owls, 34 RPG Opponents

Owl Notables

It was a tough pill for FAU to swallow when they saw their 19-game winning streak at home come to an end with the 61-52 loss to Bryant that featured a cold shooting performance the team hasn't had in a long while.

Fortunately for the Owls, their defense was a bright spot as they made Bryant shoot 34.9% from the field and 27.6% from beyond the arc. They are currently in the top 25 of the country when it comes to allowing the least points per game, something they should maintain heading into the invitational.

The Owls may be without an integral part of their starting lineup in point guard Nick Boyd. Boyd is listed as questionable for Thursday's contest due to an upper leg matter. However, based on footage taken in the Owls recent two contests, and the symptoms displayed, it is also possible that he may miss play for an extended period of time and the tournament all together.

Even though the final stat said FAU lost the rebounding battle 49-47, a lot of the boards Bryant got in the second half proved to be one of the deciding factors in the Owls being unable to come back from their deficit. It is possible to expect Vlad Goldin to be better in boxing out against his assignments, as he only grabbed four boards in the loss.

Also keep an eye on guards Johnell Davis, Alijah Martin (pictured above via Bob Markey II), and Bryan Greenlee to have more efficient production. Davis arguably had his best showing this season with a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double, Martin is progressing as he was active on the glass with six rebounds, and Greenlee could be bound for a solid shooting display after missing all eight of his attempts against Bryant.

Win or lose, the Owls will face either the 12th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies or the Penn State Nittany Lions on Friday, November 24th. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 11:00 AM or ESPN+ at 1:30 PM.

Butler Team Site: Here

Butler at a Glance

Offense - 80 PPG, 46% FG, 32% 3PT

Defense - 58 PPGA, 35% FGA, 27% 3PTA

Rebounding - 40 RPG, 38 RPG Opponents

Bulldog Notables

Butler tipped off the season 3-0 before sustaining a 74-54 defeat to 21st-ranked Michigan State.

They have one of the best defenses in the country, only allowing 58 points per game (15th nationally). Only 34.7% of their opponents' field-goal attempts have gone through the hoop, good for eighth in the nation, presenting themselves as a defensive juggernaut the Owls have to figure out how to get past.

Four of Butler's starters are scoring in double figures. One of them is transfer forward Jahmyl Telfort, who averaged 16 points, five rebounds, and two assists on an efficient 45% shooting form the field last season at Northeastern University. In four games so far, he is putting up 12.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, a steal, and an assist.

Another player the Owls have to keep tabs on is Pierre Brooks II. He leads the team in scoring with 13.3 points while getting four rebounds per game on 42.2% shooting from the field. Limiting his production could help FAU in tipping the scales in their favor.

Win or lose, the Bulldogs will take on either the 12th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies or the Penn State Nittany Lions on Friday, November 24th. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 11:00 AM or ESPN+ at 1:30 PM.

ESPN Invitational Info

The 2023 ESPN Events Invitational, a bracket-format tournament, will feature 12 games over the three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship match on Sunday, November 26th.

Six of the eight participating teams played in the 2023 NCAA Tournament: Florida Atlantic (Final Four), Penn State (second round) as well was Boise State, Iowa State, Texas A&M and VCU. Three schools in the field – Butler (2010 and 2011), Florida Atlantic (2023) and VCU (2011) – have made Final Four appearances since 2010.

The tournament is set to begin at 12:00 PM EST on Thursday when Penn State battles Texas A&M. The 12th-ranked Aggies are off to a hot 4-0 start, including astounding victories over last season's NCAA Tournament participants Ohio State (73-66) and Oral Roberts (74-66). The Nittany Lions also have a 4-0 record, cruising in three of their games via blowouts.

Thursday’s third game features Iowa State taking on VCU. The Cyclones are undefeated with a 4-0 record, outscoring their opponents 365-183 as the 15th-best scoring offense while possessing the best defense in the country as they allow just 45.8 points per game. On the other hand, the Rams have a 3-1 showing following their appearance in last season's NCAA Tournament. They only give up 62 points per game, good for 48th in the nation.

Boise State will play the 8:00 PM game, matching up with Virginia Tech. The Broncos are coming off their first loss this season after falling 85-68 on the road at Clemson. For the Hokies, they are 3-1 to start their campaign. Their lone defeat came when they lost in a 79-77 nail-biter to South Carolina in the Hall of Fame Series.

The 2023 ESPN Invitational Championship game will be played on Sunday, November 26th at 1:00 PM and will be nationally-televised by ESPN, while all other games will be available on ESPN2 or ESPN+.

Below is the currently available slate for the full three days of action in Orlando.

Game Schedule - Eastern Standard Times
Thursday, November 23 ESPN2 or ESPN+
Game 1                 Penn State 77 vs #12 Texas A&M 89 12:00 PM
Game 2                 #19 Florida Atlantic 91 vs Butler 86 2:30 PM
Game 3                 Iowa State 68 vs VCU 64 5:30 PM
Game 4                 Boise State 75 vs Virginia Tech 82 8:00 PM

Friday, November 24   ESPN2 or ESPN+
Semifinal 1            #12 Texas A&M 89 vs. #19 Florida Atlantic 96 11:00 AM
Consolation 1         Penn State 78 vs. Butler 88 1:30 PM
Semifinal 2            Iowa State 62 vs. Virginia Tech 71 5:30 PM
Consolation 2         VCU 61 vs. Boise State 65 8:00 PM

Sunday, November 26   ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU
7th Place               Penn State 74 vs. VCU 86 10:30 AM
Championship        #19 Florida Atlantic 84 vs. Virginia Tech 50 1:00 PM
5th Place               Butler 70 vs Boise State 56 4:00 PM
3rd Place               #12 Texas A&M 73 vs Iowa State 69 6:00 PM

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