The magical 2023 NCAA Tournament run for the Florida Atlantic Owls came to an end on Saturday, falling 72-71 to the San Diego State Aztecs in the national semifinals. The Owls built a healthy lead early in the second half, but wasn’t able to hang on as they fell victim to a heartbreaking buzzer-beater as time expired. That officially capped their best season in program history where they dominated Conference USA and carried that dominance into March.
So what’s next for FAU?
Well for starters, head coach Dusty May will be back in Boca Raton, FL, for at least another season. He was being rumored for higher profile jobs like Penn State, but as the Owls went deeper into the tournament, the more those jobs started to be filled by other candidates. As a result, he earned himself a contract extension at FAU where he will be paid just north of $1 million and have his assistant salary pool increased.
From a roster standpoint, it’s hard to predict who will take the floor this November given the fast and chaotic nature of the transfer portal. However, there’s a potential for FAU to return virtually its entire core. Michael Forrest is the only senior on the roster with most of the main group being comprised of sophomores and juniors with multiple years of eligibility left. That means you could very well see the likes of Johnell Davis, Alijah Martin, and Vladislav Goldin running it back in Boca Raton.
FAU will also be navigating new terrain next season as the program is jumping to the American Athletic Conference. Going with them from Conference USA are NIT Champion North Texas, NIT runner-up UAB, and CBI Tournament Champion Charlotte. Those schools will be joining a league that will be anchored by a strong program in Memphis, a program in Tulane that took a step forward this season, and a normally strong Wichita State program that has been down the past few seasons. Even with Houston and Cincinnati departing, the AAC should still be a solid mid-major league and one that FAU can have success in.