Sports

Houston, You Have a Florida Problem: Fans React to FAU and UM Reaching Final Four

Markquis Nowell of the Kansas State Wildcats goes to the hoop against Vladislav Goldin of the FAU Owls in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 25, 2023 in New York City.
Markquis Nowell of the Kansas State Wildcats goes to the hoop against Vladislav Goldin of the FAU Owls in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 25, 2023 in New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty
March Madness is known for the tagline "Survive and Advance," and through a weekend of frantic action, two of South Florida's college basketball teams β€” Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami β€” improbably did just that.

Two wins for each program over the weekend mean the schools that are separated by just 53 miles will make up half of this year's Final Four in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. To get an idea of just how insane that is, consider that more than 20 million March Madness brackets were filled out on ESPN.com, and only 37 correctly predicted a Final Four with FAU and UM in the mix.
The fact that FAU and the University of Miami reside on opposite sides of the bracket means the nation could be in store for another layer to the maddest March Madness of them all: an all-South Florida NCAA Championship Final.

If the teams meet on Monday, April 3, for college basketball's national title, the NCAA may need a select committee to investigate how they let South Florida take over the sport with such tenacity and ease.

South Florida Basketball Fans Celebrate

The weekend of basketball magic opened all the social-media reactions sluices from FAU and Canes fans alike. To put a pin in this incredible moment in South Florida sports history, we've compiled a few of our favorites below.

First up is the disbelief and emotion from FAU fans coming to grips with the fact that the Boca Raton school and Conference USA are coming to the big stage in Houston for the Final Four.
One Broward woman was seen tightly clutching a pillow, seated in front of the family TV in the final moments of the FAU game. When the Owls prevailed over the Kansas State Wildcats in a nail-biting upset, the superfan appeared to burst into tears before hugging her son.
Local sportscaster Stephen Diener was beside himself.

"Every single moment, every win in this tournament... has been history-making for FAU," Diener said in a post on Fox Sports 640 South Florida's Twitter account.
And of course, the classic swaggering-nipple-pinching-Canes fans were ready with reaction videos after UM clinched the program's first-ever trip to the Final Four.
Some Hurricanes fans looked to be approaching a state of ecstasy after the team beat out the Texas Longhorns Sunday, March 26.

An emotional fan posted a selfie video with a clenched fist and a celebratory grimace as he shouted, "Let's fucking go!"

Final Four Schedule

How does this storybook college basketball season end for South Florida? Unfortunately, we'll have to wait an excruciating workweek to find out as the teams travel to the home of the Final Four in Houston. 

Both FAU and Miami will play their Final Four games on Saturday, April 1, with FAU taking on No. 5 San Diego State at 6:09 p.m. followed by Miami facing No. 4 UConn at 8:49 p.m. Both games will air on CBS.

The national championship game will take place on Monday, April 3, at 9 p.m. on CBS.

If FAU and Miami are still playing next Monday, then Houston, you have a South Florida problem.
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi

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