Men’s basketball preview: possible tournament scenarios for FAU entering the last four games

The Owls are currently 11th in the conference standings.


Senior Adonis Filer leads the Owls with 10.6 points per game. Alexander Rodriguez | Contributing Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic men’s basketball has a chance to lock down its Conference USA tournament spot this weekend when it hosts the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Texas at San Antonio, but will need some help in order to accomplish it.

The Owls (9-16, 5-9 Conference USA) are currently three games ahead of the University of North Texas for the 11th spot in the standings with a total of four games left in the season. The Owls may find themselves in a tie with one or more team when it’s all said and done.

FAU also has the chance to climb up as high as the fifth seed if the stars are lined up right. The top four teams in the standings get a bye in the first round.

Here are the possible scenarios FAU may find itself among the bottom four teams which are fighting for the final two tournament spots:

Two-way tie with North Texas:

If FAU defeats UTEP Thursday, and Louisiana Tech University defeats North Texas, the Owls will automatically qualify for the tournament. However, if FAU fails to win versus UTEP and, or North Texas defeats Louisiana Tech, the Owls can clinch a spot in the tournament with a victory over UTSA on Saturday.

On the other hand, if FAU and North Texas finish the season with the same conference record, the Owls may miss the tournament because of Conference USA’s tiebreaker system. The rule states if two teams finish with the same conference record, the team with the best head-to-head record will be the winner.

North Texas defeated FAU 70-64 back on Feb. 9 in their lone matchup of the season.

Two-way tie with Southern Miss:

If FAU and Southern Miss find themselves tied in the standings with the same conference record, FAU will get the nod over the Eagles, having defeated them 94-82 last Saturday in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Two-way tie with Florida International:

The Owls will also get the nod over Florida International University if both teams are tied in the standings, as the Owls own a 2-0 record over the Golden Panthers. FAU defeated FIU 73-64 on Jan. 7 and 83-65 on Jan. 26.

Multiple-team tie:

If three or all four teams finish the season with the same conference record, the tiebreaker system states whichever team has a better winning record versus the others will be ranked first.

When comparing records against a single team or a group of teams, the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal — 2-0 is better than 3-1 — and in the case of tied percentages, the following shall apply — 2-0 is better than 1-0 and 0-1 tops 0-2.

The Owls would be the team to rank first in the group, having posted a 3-1 record versus the other three teams currently fighting for the two final spots. The second closest would be Southern Mississippi who is 2-1 versus its opponents, with one game left against North Texas to come.

Looking up the standings:

FAU also has the chance of climbing up the rankings, and could potentially get as high as the fifth seed.

Rice, which is 8-6 in the conference, currently occupies that spot, but the Owls are only three games behind the Texas-based Owls.

Conference USA Standings

  1. Middle Tennessee 14-1 (3 games left)
  2. Louisiana Tech 12-3 (3 games left)
  3. Old Dominion 9-5 (4 games left)
  4. UTEP 9-5 (4 games left)
  5. Rice 8-6 ( 4 games left)
  6. Marshall 8-6 (4 games left)
  7. UAB 8-7 (3 games left)
  8. Western Kentucky 7-7 (4 games left)
  9. UTSA 6-8 (4 games left)
  10. Charlotte 5-9 (3 games left)
  11. FAU 5-9 (4 games left)
  12. Southern Miss 5-10 (3 games left)
  13. North Texas 2-12 (4 games left)
  14. FIU 2-12 (4 games left)

*All are records within the conference only.

FAU will host UTEP on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:00 p.m. and UTSA on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:00 p.m. Both games will be played at FAU Arena.

Hans Belot Jr. is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.