CBB Review hands out awards for each conference tournament in 2023. Up next: The C-USA Tournament.
In Jason Draven’s C-USA preview, he predicted a Florida Atlantic vs. UAB final. He was on the money, with Florida Atlantic defeating UAB to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. This is the Owls’ first time dancing since 2002, 21 years ago. 21 years before that, the Owls didn’t even have a program. Had the Blazers won, the Owls still would have likely won an automatic bid and the C-USA would have become a 2-bid league.
CBB Review C-USA Tournament Outstanding Player
Alijah Martin, Florida Atlantic
If I could split this award into two and give the other half to Johnell Davis, I would do so. But, I can’t, so it is Alijah’s to keep. It’s deserved after he dropped 30 points and 11 rebounds in the title game over UAB. Over three games in the C-USA tournament, Martin averaged 18.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 1.3 SPG. The sophomore guard from Mississippi is going to make some noise in the tournament.
CBB Review All-C-USA Tournament First Team
- G: Jordan Walker, UAB – 3 games played (25.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.0 APG)
- G: Alijah Martin, Florida Atlantic – 3 games played (18.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.3 SPG)
- G: Johnell Davis, Florida Atlantic – 3 games played (16.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 3.7 SPG)
- G: Aaron Scott, North Texas – 2 games played (16.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.0 BPG)
- F: Deandre Dishman, Middle Tennessee – 2 games played (13.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.0 APG)
Florida Atlantic’s NCAA Tournament Prediction
There are 13 teams ranked in the top 40 in both KenPom’s offensive and defensive efficiency ratings. Florida Atlantic is one of them. This is a deep team, a very good team, and a team that does not care who or what their next opponent is. They do almost everything well, and nothing poorly. In fact, the only statistic where the Owls rank in the bottom 75 in the country is opponent FT%. They shoot the three at a 37.3% clip while defending it at a 32.6% rate. They rank 6th in shooting efficiency nationally. The Owls sit at 16th nationally in three-pointers made per game and 26th in PPG. They’re one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the nation, and while they don’t shoot a lot of free throws, they’re not horrible at making them. They don’t commit a lot of fouls, but they don’t draw too many either.
They just play ball. Alijah Martin plays ball. Johnell Davis plays ball. Vladislav Goldin plays ball. Nicholas Boyd plays ball. Michael Forrest, the lone senior on the team, can you guess what he does? He plays ball. This team balls. It’s what they do. So if by chance, your favorite team draws Florida Atlantic as an opponent this March, you better hope your program can ball. Because these Owls will be. This Cinderella isn’t leaving the ball at midnight. She’s tossing an alley-oop to Alijah Martin from half-court. Sweet Sixteen. Minimum.