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2024 AAC Men's Basketball Championship

What: #2 RV FAU (24-7, 14-4 AAC) vs. #7 North Texas (17-13, 10-8 AAC) / #10 Tulane (14-16, 5-13 AAC)

When: March 15th, @ 7:00 PM Eastern

Where: Dickies Arena

Series: The Green Wave have a 5-2 lead against FAU, while the Mean Green possess a 14-10 edge against the Owls. FAU swept both teams during the regular season.


Stream: ESPNU

Radio: FoxSports 640

Live Stats: Here

FAU at a Glance:

Offense - 83 PPG, 48% FG, 36% 3PT

Defense - 73 PPGA, 44% FGA, 33% 3PTA

Rebounding - 38 RPG Owls, 34 RPG Opponents


This year was one to remember for FAU men's basketball.

It also was a season that saw a lot of expectations surround the team, which led to a few bumps on the road. After a remarkable 35-4 campaign that saw them make a run to the NCAA Final Four and was one missed Lamont Butler shot away from advancing to the championship game, media members projected them to win the American Athletic Conference in their first year in the league. Even though they didn't have as many wins as last year, they still had some games where they showed they're just as capable of returning to where they were.

They won the ESPN Invitational and the Field of 68 Classic, beating high-quality opponents who have their history of making the Big Dance. Most importantly, they garnered multiple wins over ranked teams, specifically Texas A&M and Arizona. Their victory against the latter, who was ranked fourth in the country at the time, is the highest-ranked win the program has ever experienced throughout its history. Their journey in the AP Top 25 Poll went from 10th to start the year to as high as seventh, their highest-ever ranking in the poll.

A few losses came their way that prevented them from staying in the top 25 (namely Bryant, FGCU, Charlotte, UAB, USF), while continuing to garner votes to remain under consideration, but the Owls more than held their ground in what was a highly competitive year for The American. Not only did they get another 20-win season under head coach Dusty May, they finished with a 14-4 record in league play to finish with the second seed in the conference tournament. They also did an excellent job defending The Burrow, going 30-1 over the last two seasons as they are tied for first with Drake while being ahead of Houston, UConn, Purdue, and Kansas.

With their noteworthy success, the AAC gave the team multiple accolades including one First Team nod, two Second Team nominations, and having their top scorer Johnell Davis (pictured below via Christian Proscia) be named co-AAC Player of the Year.

With all the achievements they accomplished throughout the regular season, they now move on to the next step: going far in the AAC Tournament and presenting a strong case to punch their ticket to the Big Dance of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.

FAU has six wins in a conference tournament since 2013, with their previous three coming from their final CUSA Tournament en route to winning the championship that year. This will be the Owls' first attempt of competing for the AAC Tournament title.

3/08/14 vs Marshall L 63-59
3/09/16 vs Old Dominion L 72-46
3/08/17 vs Marshall L 89-74
3/07/18 vs UAB L 83-72
3/13/19 vs La Tech L 57-56
3/11/20 vs Old Dominion W 66-56
3/10/21 vs UTEP W 76-70
3/11/21 vs La Tech L 75-69
3/9/22 vs Southern Miss W 86-59
3/10/22 vs UAB L 80-66
3/9/23 vs WKU W 75-51
3/10/23 vs MTSU W 68-65
3/11/23 vs UAB W 78-56

The team will land in Fort Worth this year at the top in many of the league's statistical categories overall. They dominated the conference in points per game (83) and field-goal percentage (47.9%). They also did great in 3-point percentage (36.2; 2nd), 3-pointers made (273; 2nd), assists per game (15.4; 2nd), assist-turnover ratio (1.39; 2nd), rebounding offense (38.2; 4th), rebounding defense (34.2; 3rd), and rebounding margin (+3.97; 2nd).

Ending the season on a four-game winning streak, various outlets have them ranked within the top 40 of the country from 37th to as high as 15th entering the tournament.

  • RPI 15th
  • Net 34th
  • KenPom 37th
  • AP Top 25 32nd
  • USA Today Coaches Poll 34th

Past conference tournaments saw FAU have to play in the first round to even have a chance of getting to the quarterfinals. For the second consecutive season, they won't have to worry about it this year thanks to clinching the a top-four spot in the league and getting two extra days of rest to prepare for the winner between North Texas and Tulane.

Some would think it is hard for teams to win against a certain opponent three times in a season. However, May thinks differently from that concept even with the Owls having already won against North Texas and Tulane twice this year.

"They're as contrasting as they can be. We'll probably look at the computer metrics and see which team is supposed to win and spend 51% of our practice time in preparation for that team and 49% on the other because it's two evenly matched teams," May said. "Whoever we play, it's going to be a dogfight."

One could expect sophomore center Vlad Goldin to play an vital role for the Owls during the tournament. He is having a career season with averages of 15.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. The improvements he made with his inside game while not getting in foul trouble as often as he did last year was recognized by May due to the way he changes the game for the team.

"It's very obvious that Vlad is a load in the paint. He does so many different things for us to allow us to play the way we play. His finishing ability, his shot-blocking, and his shot-affecting just impacts every possession when he's on the court. He's running even better, his conditioning's continuing to improve, and I don't think you can watch our games and not see the impact that he has on offense, on defense, and on special teams in every area," May said.

It would also be fair to assume the scoring tandem of sophomore guards Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin will keep on rocking for FAU. The duo combined for 31.7 points per game, sharing the spotlight with plenty of excellent performances throughout the course of the regular season. The tournament also comes at a good time for Martin as he's been playing well towards the end of league play, putting up 14.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 steals in his last seven games.

"(Alijah)'s created such a standard for himself that it's almost felt like he hasn't had a great year. But he's had a very good year and he's playing his best basketball now," May said. "We just have such high expectations, so we're very confident that he's gonna have a great March run for us."

There is a possibility that the league might have three teams representing them in the NCAA Tournament, depending on what happens throughout the conference tournament. With FAU having the best chance of securing an at-large bid in case they don't win the AAC championship, the title could be up for grabs for the likes of USF and Memphis as they'll more than likely need it to have their best shot of punching their ticket.

"It's why we keep our rotation shorter because every game means a lot in college basketball when you're not at the Power Five level," May said. "Games in November are weighted the same as games in February and March. So we need to win them just like everyone else does in our league."

Memphis coach Penny Hardaway also chimed in on the discussion, seeing the potential of having three teams in the NCAA Tournament due to the high level of competition there was throughout the conference.

"We can make a legitimate argument that it's a three-bid league. Obviously, South Florida has emerged as the top team, and I think the next team obviously is FAU. But between ourselves, UAB and SMU—and I'm not disrespecting anyone else because anybody could be beat anytime—but those are the next teams in line, and to me, worthy of a bid, sure," Hardaway said.

Regardless of what happens, May wants the team to play their brand of basketball together with intensity and sacrifice against their opponents.

"It's necessary to beat three really good teams because that's that's what we'll see if there's if we're able to play three games, games, it's gonna be against three quality opponents," May said.

Jim Saturday contributed to this article.

2024 American Men's Basketball Championship Schedule

Wednesday, March 13

Game 1 – Rice 81 vs. Wichita State 88 – 1 PM | ESPN+
Game 2 – UTSA 61 vs. Temple 64 – 3 PM | ESPN+

Thursday, March 14

Game 3 – Tulsa 79 vs. ECU 84 – 12:30 PM | ESPNU
Game 4 – WSU 71 vs. Memphis 65 – 2:30 PM | ESPNU
Game 5 – Tulane 71 vs. North Texas 81 – 7 PM | ESPNU
Game 6 – Temple 75 vs. SMU 60 – 9 PM | ESPNU

Friday, March 15

Game 7 – ECU 59 vs. No. 1 South Florida 81 – 1 PM  | ESPN2
Game 8 – WSU 60 vs. UAB 72 – 3 PM | ESPN2
Game 9 – North Texas 71 vs. FAU 77 – 7 PM | ESPNU
Game 10 – Temple 58 vs. Charlotte 54 – 9 PM | ESPNU
Saturday, March 16

Game 11 – Semifinal 1, No. 1 South Florida 83 vs. UAB 93 – 3 PM | ESPN2
Game 12 – Semifinal 2, FAU 73 vs. Temple 74 – 5 PM | ESPN2
Sunday, March 17

Game 13 – Championship, UAB 85 vs. Temple 69 – 3:15 PM | ESPN

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