BOCA RATON, Fla. — Florida Atlantic is ranked No. 10 in The Associated Press top 25 preseason men's basketball poll released Monday.
It's the first time the Owls have ever entered a season ranked among the nation's best college basketball teams.
The Owls return almost everyone from the team that finished with a nation's best 35-4 record and made a surprising run to the Final Four, falling one game shy of reaching the national championship game.
FAU moves from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference. The Owls were picked to win the AAC in their first season in the league.
Head coach Dusty May returns for his sixth season with the Owls, who finished with a No. 25 ranking in last season's final AP poll, which is released before the NCAA tournament, and No. 5 in the final coaches poll, released after the Final Four.
FAU signed May to a 10-year contract extension in April. May's new contract pays him a $1.25 million salary through next April and increases by 5% each year. It also has several financial incentives, including a $100,000 bonus for getting the Owls back to the Final Four.
The Owls, led by AAC co-preseason players of the year Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin, will open the 2023-24 season in Chicago for the Barstool Sports Invitational against Loyola.
"We have some guys that are ready to play, have been ready to play, but under circumstances have had to take a back seat," May said. "We will be a little different, but we will still be versatile and we will play a lot of guys."
Just about 50 miles farther south, meanwhile, Miami is ranked No. 13 in the preseason poll. The Hurricanes also advanced to their first Final Four in school history last season.
FAU and Miami are the only ranked Florida schools in the preseason poll.