Lamont Butler’s dagger on the doorbell in Houston was a knockout for Florida Atlantic’s storybook season. From being voted fifth within the preseason convention match to finishing their schedule, the Owls served up wake-up calls to every certainly one of their opponents en path to the Closing 4.
Sadly, Dusty Might’s group was pummeled by the Sandman within the closing 14 minutes of their nationwide semifinal matchup in opposition to San Diego State, getting outscored 30-15, together with Butler’s buzzer. The loss was particularly painful for FAU as a result of the sphere had been cleared of the highest seeds and the story felt like one thing stolen from a ted lasso script.
Might had a Ted Lasso high quality to him. Perhaps it is a consequence of being a pupil supervisor who witnessed Bobby Knight’s demise firsthand, however Might’s teaching demeanor was a whole 180 from the outdated curmudgeon who retired because the winningest coach in males’s school basketball historical past. . Nevertheless, in the actual world, Might would not depend on his assistants to cowl up his incompetence.
Even after the loss, Might mourned the lack of senior Michael Forrest and delivered sugary coach sentiments you’d discover on the finish of a sitcom.
“On this period, it is laborious to seek out nice teammates and we’ve got a locker room filled with them.” May told Jeff Goodman of Stadium.
TV studio viewers: “aaaaawwww….. (applause)
Like his fictional AFC Richmond counterpart, Might appeared overseas for the idea of his teaching philosophy. He has spoken at size this season about how his offense derived from Euro-ball which emphasised ball motion, participant motion and an equal share of the scoring load. It is uncommon to see a ball handler or scorer dominate FAU’s possessions.
As nice as San Diego State’s historical past is, it isn’t all that juicy as a result of they’ve misplaced their main middle-field aura. They’ve been to the match greater than a dozen occasions already and the Aztecs needs to be getting a pac 12 invitation any time now.
The Closing 4 would not need to be the sequence finale for the FAU Restricted Version. sequence. So what’s going to it take to carry again the Owls present for a season two run to the Closing 4?
They’ve all of the makings, together with a cohesive returning solid. Most trendy reveals are an anthology of disconnected groups, that includes totally new rosters for every new chapter. Your entire FAU rotation has eligibility remaining in 2023. In the event that they had been in a position to make it by means of their schedule and enter the NCAA Event because the strongest senior center within the nation, there’s nothing stopping them from repeating the run utilizing Saturday’s loss as motivation.
FAU was not a St. Peter-type one-year-old marvel. They had been an undersold 9 seed, which ought to have been greater. Earlier than the match, they had been nonetheless thought of the superior middle major within the area of 68 in accordance with Pivot Evaluation, they had been ranked within the closing high 25 of the AP Ballot, and they’re a top-20 team based mostly on KenPom’s adjusted offensive and defensive system. If Might had gone to greener pastures, he can make certain that 7-foot Johnell Davis and Vladimir Goldin would tag alongside.
Might’s teaching type could lean towards maudlin, however he turned FAU right into a group with arguably the perfect courtroom chemistry in school basketball. Not dangerous for a program that she was enjoying in her first NCAA Event.
They at all times discovered the person open, the rock by no means stopped, and their high-IQ off-the-ball strikes slid them into opportune goal-scoring positions. Down the stretch, nevertheless, school basketball’s AFC Richmond wanted a zava, a playmaking virtuoso who may join the offense when he bought discouraged. UConn has a few of these offensive cheat codes that may come out and finish a dry spell. San Diego State’s protection was their trump card.
Nevertheless, not a single FAU participant can be chosen within the first spherical of the upcoming NBA Draft. The entire of it’s higher than the sum of its components. Perhaps they’ll even verify the switch portal for an replace or exchange Forrest. The prospect of enjoying on that Boca Raton campus for a 12 months and the FAU NIL collective has to enchantment to some ranked grads. dough that was lacking earlier than. They may also have the ability to assure publicity beneath a extra conspicuous highlight than they’ve operated beneath the radar this season.
Or they’ll run it once more with the identical group and their incoming freshman class. A dozen years in the past, Brad Stevens and Butler made a repeat journey to the Closing 4 and even superior to the nationwide championship recreation the 12 months after Gordon Hayward was drafted.
A 12 months after ninth-seeded Wichita State sniffed the Closing 4, they launched into an unbeaten regular-season demolition tour. The hotline between FAU, State of Wichita, and Butler are their seasoned rosters who develop an habit to taking down foes and retain the coach who instilled that profitable tradition. Might seems to be on board for an additional run after refusing to trip the teaching carousel. That might not be the case in 2024 if jobs reopen in Florida or the state of Florida. After all, she will not stay a scorching title in teaching circles ceaselessly if FAU stumbles early subsequent season. This 12 months was not the time for Florida Atlantic and Might’s profession ascension is simply starting, however this might not be the final time we see them on the Closing 4 stage.
Observe DJ Dunson on Twitter: @cerebralsportex
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