Unlike football season where teams are limited to 12 games, college basketball at least allows for the first few weeks to be an adjustment period as players and coaches figure out the best strategies to win.
Lose a couple basketball games early, the season isn’t doomed.
That good for FAU, whose first two losses haven’t been pretty. Whether it’s been inconsistency or eating too much pizza with pineapple, the Owls’ season-starting trip to Hawaii has been uglier than losing at limbo on the first try.
For the third time in as many attempts during Michael Curry’s tenure as head coach, the Owls started off the season with a loss – falling on Friday by a 61-57 final to Texas St. – and didn’t play any better on Sunday in a 77-68 loss to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
Through the first two games, the problems that plague many collegiate teams early in the season – poor shot selection, turnovers, fouls – led to FAU’s second straight 0-2 start.
“A lot of stuff we did was self inflicted,” Curry said after Friday’s loss on ESPN West Palm’s postgame show, a sentiment that held true on Sunday, too.
Self-inflicted or not, the Owls don’t need to panic. An 0-2 start in basketball isn’t the end of the world, regardless of whether it comes from a powerhouse like Kentucky or Duke or a rebuilding program like FAU.
Have things been pretty so far? Far from it. Does that mean it’s time to throw in the towel? No, not yet.
Remember, FAU isn’t playing for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth. The Owls need to be ready for Conference USA play, and more importantly the C-USA Tournament. In college basketball, how a team finishes is significantly more important than how it starts.
- If there’s been one positive from the first two games, it’s that many different players are gettinng in on the action instead of seeing just one guy like a Frank Booker or a Ronald Delph do absolutely everything. Obviously, that’s what games this early in the season are for – ironing out the kinks and figuring out who plays best where and when – but at least the Owls are getting it out of the way early. Which leads to…
- With Wednesday to Saturday off this week, Curry may want to have the players look over the game film when it comes the way officials are calling games. In Sunday’s loss to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, the Owls had 29 fouls to the Cougars’ 18; in a game that’s 40 minutes long, that means FAU committed a foul about every 73 seconds. Again, the foul issues are something that is thankfully happening now so it can be addressed, but when starting forward William Pfister is constantly on the bench because he keeps getting into foul trouble, it’s going to be hard to stay in games.
- As the sixth man, former Clemson Tiger and last year’s second-leading scorer Adonis Filer is going to need to study the little things this week. While the senior did put up nine points on Friday night, Filer only made 33% of his shots and committed three turnovers over 18 minutes; things weren’t much prettier on Sunday as Filer went scoreless in 16 minutes of play. This is an Owls team that is going to need as much offensive help as they can get and Filer, who shot a career-best .398 from the field next year, has to figure things out as quickly as he can. Tuesday morning against Hawaii may be a good place to start.
Game of the Week: Chances are, a home game against Edward Waters doesn’t sound like a must-see on paper, but there’s always excitement for the home opener. For the first time this season, the Owls will play basketball in Boca with a 1 p.m. start on Sunday. While it’s not a big-name team like Syracuse or Louisville – or even an in-state rival like Miami – that’s coming to The Burrow, take a break from the NFL to watch the Owls at home.
Conference Counterparts: So far, only one team in Conference USA other than the Owls – the University of Texas-San Antonio – has played more than one game. Those two teams, along with Louisiana Tech, are the only C-USA teams right now to be without a win on the season.
Good Morning: Those who start Tuesdays before the sun rises will be able to catch FAU take on Hawaii in a game that will start around 4:15 a.m. on ESPN2.