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Coach May Week 19 Presser Notes - March 11th, 2024

Ending the season strong with back-to-back wins over North Texas and Memphis, the Florida Atlantic men's basketball team are locked in as the second seed as they await their quarterfinal matchup in the AAC Tournament on March 15th.

Head coach Dusty May (pictured) spoke with media on Monday to evaluate the current state of the team and their preparations for the conference tourney.

Below are some of the highlights from the session.

Opening statement heading into the AAC Tournament

"We're very excited to be playing in March and we're looking forward to the conference tournament. In a new venue and a great basketball environment from what everyone tells us and just to continue working to be our best and hopefully gelling at just the right time."

Status update on Tre Carroll

"I haven't had an update yet today. I don't know. I can't answer that yet."

Reflecting on the atmosphere he experienced during the season finale at home against Memphis

"It's very gratifying. And when I watched the film, I watched the TV copy. I listened to what the commentators say because I want to know what the national audience is hearing about our program and I want to know what the narrative is. We use it in recruiting, we use it in a lot of ways to sell what we're building and then I watched the camera copy and to see that many people excited about our guys and our program is extremely gratifying."

"To see our student body, our local community, our alumni base, come together and share something that's so dear to all of the beliefs it seems, is special for all of us that are involved and yeah, it's awesome. It's special and it's very difficult and almost impossible to build something like this in today's climate when there's so many distractions, so many other things that people can do. There's a lot of reasons why this has happened and obviously the success in the Final Four is a big part of that, but this thing was building and the Snowball was getting bigger much before that, and it's continued."

"What our guys have done is remarkable where they still interact with the student body, they still go about their daily lives with great humility and character and substance, so that's the thing that makes me the most proud. Typically when people go from completely anonymous to being household names across the country, it changes who they are. And obviously we've all changed a little bit, but these guys are still the exact same dudes at heart and that's probably one of the things that makes this all so unique."

Evaluating Vlad Goldin's impact heading into the tournament

"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. I'm just proud that he continues to get better and he's hungry and he's driven. And just like I said about many of our guys, this is a byproduct of his heart, determined and intentional work that he puts in daily."

Preparations for North Texas or Tulane

"Just to play really good basketball, frame-by-frame, possession-by-possession, and trust that that's enough. We obviously are in a unique situation this year where there's really no stress or pressure to make the NCAA (Tourney). So we have one goal in mind: to win that game and take a run at a conference championship."

"It would be ideal if they were two teams that played similar styles there. 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. I think Tulane was picked preseason third in our league after playing extremely well on a tour to China representing the US in the PanAm Games. And North Texas hasn't had a full roster for most of the season, and they've been on the verge of being in the top two or three. So whoever we play, it's going to be a dogfight. Just like that game on Thursday, it's going to be a dogfight as well."

Thoughts about Alijah Martin returning to form before the tournament

"Alijah was an All-league performer last year and his numbers, I believe, are better across the board this year. So I think that he'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. He had some big moments early in the year, but it also was difficult for him because he came off of an injury and missed a lot of practice and came late, so this is probably the way it's supposed to happen for him. We just have such high expectations, so we're very confident that he's gonna have a great March run for us."

Areas he wants the team to maximize throughout the tournament

"At this point of the season, we're going to focus on what we do well and try to shore up a few things defensively, maybe add a counter or two here and there offensively based on how we've been defended at times, but there will be no wholesale changes. The word pressure, I'd be shocked if we look like a team that's impacted by pressure in Fort Worth. We're a very confident group, we've performed, our guys have performed on the biggest stage so it feels like there's almost like a newness or renewed energy where this surely is a new season. It almost feels like day one again."

The Owls will keep practicing at home before taking a flight to the Lone Star State on Wednesday to continue their preparation for the AAC Tournament.

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