Why FAU men’s basketball will finish with a winning record in 2012-2013

Rolando Rosa

Pablo Bertone (25) and the Owls will take on FIU on March 2, the last regular season game of the year.

The UP’s schedule prediction for FAU men’s basketball, along with five key games to look out for:

Nov. 11 at North Carolina
Nov. 13 at Mississippi State
Nov. 17 vs. Coppin State (Elon, N.C.)
Nov. 18 vs. Elon/Colgate (Elon, N.C.)
Nov. 24 vs. American, 7 p.m.
Nov. 29 vs. South Alabama 7 p.m.
Dec. 1 vs. Arkansas State  
Dec. 6 at Stetson
Dec. 9 vs. Warner Southern, 3 p.m.
Dec. 15 at Dayton
Dec. 18 vs. Stetson, 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 at Indiana
Dec. 27 at Troy
Dec. 29 at ULM
Jan. 1 vs. Hofstra, 2 p.m.
Jan. 3 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette , 7 p.m.
Jan. 10 at Middle Tennessee State
Jan. 12 at Western Kentucky
Jan. 17 vs. Troy, 7 p.m.
Jan. 19 vs. North Texas, 7 p.m.
Jan. 24 at UALR
Jan. 26 at Arkansas State
Jan. 31 vs. ULM 7 p.m.
Feb. 2 vs. Middle Tennessee State  7 p.m.
Feb. 7 at FIU
Feb. 9 at South Alabama
Feb. 14 vs. Western Kentucky, 7 p.m.
Feb. 16 at Louisiana-Lafayette
Feb. 21 at UNT
Feb. 23 vs. UALR, 7 p.m.
Mar. 2 vs. FIU, 7 p.m.
Mar. 8-11 Sun Belt Championship, Hot Springs, Ark.

Prediction: 17-14
With seven freshmen, the Owls are much younger than last year’s 11-19 squad. However, with the addition of first-year phenoms such as Chris Bryant and Stefan Moody, this year’s team is just as talented and won’t have the chemistry issues that plagued FAU last season. Seventeen wins will give the seniors (Greg Gantt, Jordan McCoy, Andre Mattison) the most ever wins for a graduating class and cement head coach Mike Jarvis as the winningest coach in the program’s history.

Five games to look out for:

Nov. 11 at North Carolina (Maui Invitational) 2:30 p.m.:
FAU will need a prayer to not lose by 40 or more at Chapel Hill. The Owls are likely to get slaughtered by the No. 12 Tar Heels. However, the matchup, televised on ESPNU, will give the nation its first look at the FAU freshman class Jarvis says could be one of the best ever.

Nov.13 at Mississippi State (Maui Invitational) 8 p.m.:
Former Owls point guard Ray Taylor provided the highlight of FAU’s season with his inbounds pass off a defender’s back in last season’s tight road loss to Mississippi State. The year before, FAU even beat Mississippi State. It’ll be another tight game, but the Owls will drop to 0-2.

Dec. 21 at Indiana 7 p.m.: The first-ever game for FAU against a top-ranked opponent. The Owls will get plenty of rest an hour away from Nap Town — the nickname for Indianapolis used by reporters and columnists such as Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock,  but it won’t help once they hit the court. Not even the Owls best “Hoosiers” impression will save them from a beatdown in Bloomington.

Feb. 14 vs Western Kentucky 7 p.m.: Last season, FAU was picked by analysts to make the NCAA Tournament. Instead, it was the Hilltoppers, sparked by an in-season coaching change, who marched to the Big Dance instead. The Owls will pull off a close win at home.

March 2 vs FIU 7 p.m.: It’s senior night for Gantt, McCoy and Mattison. If that isn’t motivation enough, they can always turn to the Golden Panthers bench and look at former Owls Ray Taylor and Dennis Mavin, who left FAU to join one of its biggest rivals. With FIU moving to Conference USA after the season, this might be the last time these two teams play for awhile. The Burrow will be buried with another win over FIU.