Home Feature A Look at FAU: The Cinderella Team of the NCAA Men’s Basketball...

A Look at FAU: The Cinderella Team of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament


Coming into this season, the FAU program was picked fifth in the Conference USA preseason poll. The start of their success began in conference play, where they won their first ever Conference USA championship. Following the end of the regular season, FAU entered the NCAA tournament as a 9-seed. They had only appeared in the NCAA tournament one other time back in 2002, and had never won a game in any NCAA tournament until now. Not only did they win a game, they won multiple games, falling just short to San Diego State University in the Final Four. Let’s take a look at FAU’s miraculous run throughout the NCAA tournament:

Round of 64

FAU took on 8-seed Memphis in the first round of the tournament. The Owls pulled off a crazy win, beating Memphis in the last seconds of the game by one-point, 66-65. FAU was down 64-65 with five seconds left in the game. Guard Nick Boyd went full head of steam to the rim after receiving the inbounds pass and put the Owls up 66-65 to win the game. Their resilience and effort during this game gave them the momentum they needed to make one of the most historic runs in tournament history.

Round of 32

Much to their surprise, FAU faced 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) in the second round of the tournament. Adding to the list of historic moments, FDU beat 1-seed Purdue University in the Round of 64. Going into this game, FAU and FDU were both the underdogs in their previous games so this matchup was anyone’s ball game. Ultimately, FAU came out on top winning 78-70.

Sweet Sixteen

Now headed to the Big Apple, FAU geared up to take on 4-seed University of Tennessee at Madison Square Garden in the Sweet Sixteen. Once again, the Owls came out with an upset over the Volunteers, beating them 62-55 to advance to the Elite Eight. This win also marked Head Coach Dusty May’s 100th career win at FAU.

Elite Eight

Making their first appearance in the Elite Eight, the Owls took on Kansas State University to compete for a spot in the Final Four. Following suit with their previous wins, the Owls beat the Wildcats 79-76. The game was back-and-forth the last two minutes of the game, but FAU hung on to come out on top and continued their unbelievable streak in the tournament.  

Final Four

Stepping onto the court in Houston, FAU was ready to fight for a spot in the 2023 National Championship game. They were up against San Diego State University in the Final Four. In a gut wrenching end to their season, FAU lost to SDSU on a buzzer-beater, losing 72-71 and losing their shot at a National Championship.

Although FAU did not get the ultimate outcome they were hoping for, their incredible run in this NCAA tournament will go down in history as one of the greatest March Madness runs of all time.