Leading the darlings of the college basketball world, Fairleigh Dickinson, by eight with the clock ticking down to the final buzzer, Florida Atlantic had survived. The Owls only needed that final red light and horn.
The No. 9 seeded Owls, Cinderellas in their own right, were rooted against all night by 75% of the crown in attendance. Who could really blame the crowd. It isn’t often we see a 16 seed have a legitimate chance at reaching the Sweet 16. Why not root for history to be made?
As the seconds ticked down, Fairleigh Dickinson’s final possession ended without a score. FAU fired an outlet pass downcourt to a wide open Alijah Martin who proceeded to rise, pump, rotate, and miss a showboat dunk.
Listen to the boos below:
Florida Atlantic's Alijah Martin tries a huge dunk with the game out of hand in the final seconds and hears boos.— The Comeback (@thecomeback) March 20, 2023
FAU head coach Dusty May appears to apologize to FDU head coach Tobin Anderson, who was upset. #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/Is2rIF8GJx
Then, during the postgame handshake line that we insist making athletes participate in, an FAU player still in his warmups waved goodbye to the crowd booing. Some not-so-bright Twitter user(s) saw this as an insult to the little sad boys at FDU.
Twitter was swarmed with the exact type of Twitter Profile Picture you’d expect to have a trash take:
“Bad couple minutes for FAU. Inappropriate dunk and cussing in the interview. Bad look for May,” wrote @CoachMike1991.
“F*** that p**** on fau who tried to dunk it last second,” cried @millerfamily12.
“Kick the FAU player who just tried a flashy dunk as time expired out of the tournament please,” exclaimed @ByCASimmons.
“Usually a mid-major guy but not after that dunk attempt, Go Vols,” @JentzenG, who wasn’t a mid-major guy before with this attitude, replied to the MMM Twitter account.
Even Ian Eagle, a wonderful broadcaster with a velvet voice, besmirched the missed dunk.
I am here to tell you all, the only issue was that Martin missed the dunk.
The only issue is that the player who waved goodbye did it from a distance. He should have been in the faces of fans booing them.
We cheer and fawn when Tobin Anderson purposefully goes viral, motivating his team that they know they can beat Purdue (we love that they did!), but we get upset when a player chooses to be the villain.
Be the villains of the Madness, Owls.
A program that had one 20-win season and five winning seasons in total before Dusty May took over doesn’t belong in the Sweet 16. But here they are. They should relish it, and rock the majesty in a way that only a bunch of Florida Men can do.
It’s your court, Owls, run it. Kill Batman. Run Gotham City. Embrace being the villains.
We see plucky mid-major runs come and go all the time. Saint Peter’s, Florida Gulf Coast, VCU, Davidson, Loyola-Chicago — all were lovable and captured us between Dunk City, Havoc Defense, Steph Curry, and Sister Jean. The closest villain we have seen recently is Oral Roberts — and that isn’t because the team did anything, but because their founder was a homophobic bigot.
So, to FAU and Dusty May, I write: We need more villainous mid majors.
Be dicks, Owls. Showboat against a 16 seed whose coach went viral for talking shit. Wave goodbye to fans who booed you. Cuss after the game because TBS doesn’t care. Go beat the shit out of Tennessee by pounding them Aussie Rules Football style.
Embrace the villain role. And enjoy it.