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Coach May Arizona Presser Notes - December 18th, 2023

Coming off of back-to-back wins over FIU and St. Bonaventure, the Florida Atlantic men's basketball team are anticipating a blockbuster matchup at Las Vegas when they take on nationally-ranked Arizona on December 23rd.

Head coach Dusty May (pictured via Bob Markey II) spoke with media on Monday to evaluate the current state of the team and their preparations against the Wildcats.

Below are some of the highlights from the session.

Opening statement on heading to Las Vegas for Saturday's matchup with Arizona

"We're excited to get through finals week and especially after a really good win vs. a St. Bonaventure team that we have great respect for. And obviously, our guys are eager to turn the page and start looking towards Arizona and the game we have at T-Mobile in Vegas on the 23rd. So overall, we're pleased with where we are. Still we have a lot of work to do, but for this point in the season, we're healthy. We feel like we've learned a lot about ourselves. We feel like we've identified what our issues are and are going to be, and now it's time to fix them before they have to be fixed."

Reflecting on their victory over St. Bonaventure

"There were a couple things that really jumped out. First and foremost, BJ Greenlee and Brenen Lorient, how much of an impact they had on the game and those two guys that I just mentioned, BJ was 3-7 and Brenen was 1-2 so they were 4-9 from the field, just a solid statline but I thought their energy, their defensive pressure, change the complexion of the game. And Giancarlo Rosado, the same thing I thought his ball movement, his body movement, I thought he just gave us a jolt of energy when he came in the game. He was very decisive with his offense and what he was looking for."

"And obviously Nick Boyd being out, the first half he was a little bit rusty. I thought he played really well in the second half and added a new dimension offensively where he was able to get downhill get to the rim and finish a couple of times. Then like any defense, they then reacted to that and were able to get Vlad a few dunks and whatnot. So overall pleased because we didn't play that very well on the offensive end and found a way to grind one out."

Expectation on facing their highest-ranked opponent in program history with No. 4 Wildcats

"The only expectation is to go play really good basketball frame-by-frame. I wouldn't be shocked if this game got up into the 80s possessions-wise. They want to play fast and we want to play fast. So I think just playing really good ball for as many possessions as we can, understanding there's going to be errors, there's going to be mistakes, and while playing through those mistakes, expecting them, countering them. And hopefully our speed, athleticism, and as quickly as we think can help offset the mistakes but we don't have any grand expectations of storming the court. We think we match up with anyone in the country when we're playing good basketball so the expectations for us, they never change."

Preparations for Arizona

"They have a lot of top priority guys. I can't go into the game and say that these two guys are this or these two guys or that because it doesn't take long to identify Boswell, Ballo, and Larson. They have a lot of top of the scouting report type of guys so we're going to have to do a great job the cumulative effort and also do an exceptional job forcing catches outside of comfort zones, being there on the catch, defend them one-on-one well."

"I can't say that we're going into it saying we've got to take Caleb Love and Keshad Johnson out of the game; I would love to but we also have to do a really good job on the other guys because they have really good players and their system is very unique. And because it's not new to them, even though they have new players, they adjust and counter what you're trying to do really well. So we've got to change some coverages and change some things up to keep them off balance, but it still comes down to what I said a minute ago: playing really good basketball, team-ball connected for 40 minutes frame-by-frame."

Potential impact of getting a win over Arizona

"I don't know what the implications are. Every marquee game, every big game helps with your tournament resume so we don't have the pressure to win three games in March. Other than that, that's for everyone else. Obviously, it would be a big deal for us to win this game, but for our staff and players, beating St. Bonaventure was a big deal and handling business against FIU, our rival 40 minutes away, that was a big deal. So it's the biggest game of the year because it's our next game."

With today's practice already concluded, the Owls will keep preparing until they travel to Las Vegas prior to Saturday's matchup against Arizona.

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