Written By: David Asch
After an 82-74 win against SMU and fighting for a spot to go dancing in March, Temple head coach Fran Dunphy’s attitude towards making the tournament remains the same.
“We got to win the next game,” Dunphy said. “Every time out.”
The Owls haven’t made the tournament since the 2015-16 season, where they lost in heartbreaking fashion at the buzzer to Iowa in the first round. One of the team’s biggest goals this season is to make it back to the tournament, and at 18-7 with an 8-4 record in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), the Owls are right on the bubble. With the pressure on, Dunphy is making sure the team focuses on each individual game ahead. That starts with the next game at USF on Saturday. Dunphy brought up their first matchup of the season on January 12, where Temple won 82-80 in OT.
“[USF guard LaQuincy Rideau] had a triple-double…with ten steals, which is incredible,” Dunphy said. “They’ve had a terrific year. It will be a great challenge for us on Saturday night and that’s all we’re thinking about.”
This will be an important game for Temple, as it falls in the category of a Quadrant 1 game. In order to be a Quadrant 1 game, a team needs to face an opponent NET ranked 1-30 in a home game, 1-50 in a neutral game, and 1-75 in an away game.
Temple has struggled in Quadrant 1 games this season with only being 1-5, compared to being 17-2 in Quadrant 2-4 games.
After the USF game, Temple will have one more Quadrant 1 game this seasons when they visit Memphis on February 26.
Besides those two games, the only other chance Temple has to play in Quadrant 1 games is to make the AAC semifinals and play either Houston, Cincinnati, and UCF. If the season ended now, Temple would be the fourth seed in their conference tournament and would get a bye into the quarterfinals.
As of Tuesday, ESPN’s Bracketology has Temple as the 12-seed in the East region with a play-in game against the other 12-seed, Seton Hall.