25. Florida Atlantic (16-4)
There is a lot of pressure on this group of basketball players in Boca Raton. The Owls made a wildly unexpected run to the Final Four last season and then returned nearly the entire roster, hopeful to make similar type of magic again. Florida Atlantic has had a few slip-ups this season and have had a few other close calls, but all of their goals are still right in front of them in year one in the AAC.
This week certainly answered that the Owls can win games on the road in this league. They survived a classic last Sunday, winning 112-103 in overtime at UTSA. Johnell Davis had 34 points and 7 rebounds, Alijah Martin scored 26, and Brandon Weatherspoon had 21 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. There was slightly less drama later in the week, as Florida Atlantic won 69-56 at Rice. Nicholas Boyd was the leading scorer with his 18 points this time as the Owls performed well again.
Putting aside those earlier losses, Florida Atlantic has proved they belong among the ranked teams, especially with that classic win over Arizona right before Christmas. Surviving AAC play might be just as challenging against teams that will give them their best shot. Frankly, the defense hasn’t been at its best in conference play, though at least they’ll be home in Boca Raton this week, hosting North Texas and Tulsa.