Where is Florida Atlantic University? 8 things to know about FAU during March Madness run

Florida Atlantic is having a moment in March Madness, all the way to the Final Four!

The Owls shattered the school record with 31 wins heading into the NCAA men's basketball tournament. They opened with an upset win over No. 8 seed Memphis before taking down fan-favorite Fairleigh Dickinson, who became just the second No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 when it bested Purdue.

Coach Dusty May piloted FAU to an Elite 8 win against Kansas State, continuing to upend brackets nationwide but delighting fans in South Florida (who also have Miami to root for in te Final Four). FAU beat No. 4 seed Tennessee on in New York, and then did the same in an Elite 8 thriller against Kansas State to make the Final Four.

Basketball fans are learning about Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin, but they might also want to know just where in Florida the Owls come from.

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Well, just going by the name might clue you in that FAU is near the ocean. How close? Let us be your campus tour guide:

What city is Florida Atlantic in?

Florida Atlantic is in Boca Raton, a city of just over 95,000 in Palm Beach County. It's about an hour north of Miami and a half-hour south of West Palm Beach, just a bridge hop from the island of Palm Beach, where Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort sits.

What is Florida Atlantic known for?

FAU promotes itself as the No. 1 doctorate-level undergraduate research university, as well as the No. 1 public university in Florida for campus ethnic diversity. It is home to nationally ranked programs in business, engineering, computer science, nursing, online education and honors, according to the FAU website.

Athletically, FAU is best known for its football team, which began under former Miami Hurricanes coach Howard Schnellenberger. The team came into the public spotlight under head coach Lane Kiffin, the former coach of the NFL's Oakland Raiders, and college's Tennessee Volunteers and the USC Trojans. He left the job as offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban in 2016 to take the head job at FAU. The Owls went 26-13 in three seasons under Kiffin, winning the Conference USA championship twice.

Is FAU a small school?

Florida Atlantic had an undergraduate enrollment of 23,073 in fall 2022, according to the school.

Is FAU a public university?

Yes! Florida Atlantic is an above-average public university, according to Niche.com's grades.

How far is Florida Atlantic from the beach?

About 3 miles separate the eastern edge of the FAU campus and the Atlantic Ocean. From the FAU Student Union, it's about a 12-minute drive down Glades Road and East Palmetto Park Road down to Ocean Boulevard, where you can take your pick of public beaches from South Beach Park and Red Reef Park up to the Spanish River beach access.

Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena is on the west end of the FAU campus, so add a couple minutes to your drive if you want to go from the game to the shore.

Is Florida Atlantic University a D1 school?

It is! Otherwise, it couldn't make a March Madness run.

After starting in Division II in 1988, Florida Atlantic basketball jumped to Division I in 1993. It played in the Atlantic Sun Conference from 1993 to 2004, when it joined the Sun Belt Conference. In 2013, FAU switched to Conference USA, and it will become part of the American Athletic Conference in fall 2023.

Has FAU ever made March Madness?

Florida Atlantic had made one NCAA men's basketball tournament before 2023. They were a No. 9 seed in the 2002 tournament when they lost in the first round to Alabama, 86-78.

Who are Florida Atlantic's famous alumni?

Some notable Owls include:

  • Chris Carrabba, lead singer of emo band Dashboard Confessional

  • Marc Kudisch, Broadway and TV actor

  • Mark Dean, co-developer of the IBM PC

  • Yolanda Griffith, former WNBA MVP

  • Alfred Morris, former NFL Pro Bowl running back

  • Devin Singletary, NFL running back

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Florida Atlantic's Final Four run: 8 things to know about FAU Owls