15. Florida Atlantic Owls – 7-2
The Owls were riding high on a 5-game win streak, including sweeping both the ESPN Events Invitational and the Field of 68 Tip-Off in the past two weeks. Their latest opponent happened to be their toughest, taking on Illinois in the Jimmy V Classic.
Still, without Nick Boyd and others nursing injuries, FAU wasn’t at 100% but still had enough firepower to make it a game. It was a high-scoring affair for 40 minutes, but the Owls couldn’t get enough defensive stops, losing 97-89. Big man Vladislav Goldin had 23 pts in just 19 minutes played but was in foul trouble all night and eventually fouled out. Johnell Davis had 19 pts and 9 rebs, while Tre Carroll had 10 off the bench.
There’s nothing shameful about losing to Illinois and the Owls have shown they’re a top-20 caliber team. Once Boyd comes back, they’ll be 100% and have the depth to match up with anyone in the country.
The next opponent for FAU is Florida International, a local rival from the Conference USA days. This time it’s a non-con battle. After them is a tough neutral site game next weekend against St. Bonaventure, ahead of the clash with Arizona afterward.