Josh Safran’s Virtual College Basketball Season: Owls Go Cold, Lose to Wildcats (Game 13)

Note: Josh Safran, the creator of Corona Madness, got very bored while in quarantine and wanted to see a college basketball season played to completion. Thus, he used the Temple Men’s Basketball roster to play a hybrid version of their schedule in the NCAA10 video game. The team competes in the A-10 and isn’t an exact replica, but it’s here to serve your basketball boredom for now.

Written by: Josh Safran

When I came up with this odd idea to do my own recreation of the Temple basketball season, I decided to ultimately go through with it for two specific reasons.  First is the obvious, the basketball season got cancelled the day the AAC tournament was scheduled to tip, leaving Temple’s destiny forever unknown.  The second reason was maybe, just maybe, if I played Villanova in this far off wormhole of a basketball world, the Owls from North Philadelphia would defeat the Wildcats from Montgomery County.

The Liacouras Center would never find itself on the NCAA’s toughest places to play list but there’s a couple nights each year you can count on a packed and rowdy house.  One of those nights every other year is when the Owls give Villanova a warm welcome to Philly, play decent basketball for one half, and inevitably lose by double digits.

Unfortunately for myself and Owl fans everywhere, this video game rendition was more of the same, as my Temple Owls gave it their all but fell well short of Jay Wright’s bunch, losing 56-47.  Normally I would mention the Big 5 implications of this result, but the Penn Quakers decided they needed a rebuilding year and declined to participate, making the Big 5 just a Quaint 4 for this season.  

For Temple (10-3), this game had been circled from day 1, then circled again going into this week.  Playing Villanova (6-2) is always an opportunity to both dominate domestically and earn attention nationally.  

After starting the year 10-2, stringing together a few Quadrant II victories, a win against the Wildcats would have in all likelihood earned the Owls a top-25 ranking, not to mention one last chance to beat Temple’s biggest rival on the court for two starting seniors.  All that said, sometimes a lot of emotion is too much emotion, and that seemed to be the case when Villanova started the game off with three straight and-1 opportunities.  They converted two-of-three, jumping out to a quick 8-0 advantage forcing an early timeout and taking the crowd out of the equation. 

Out of the timeout Temple drew up a play that led to JP Moorman showing off his best PJ Tucker imitation with a corner three, however the Wildcats fired right back and got the score up to 13-3 after the first two minutes of game time.

After those first two minutes the two teams played an extremely even game, but Temple simply could never narrow the gap.  The Wildcats were led by their senior Scottie Reynolds, who was the high man of the game with 26 points coming off 11-of-20 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from three.  On the other side were Temple’s two senior leaders, Quinton Rose and Alani Moore, who only combined for 18 points, 12 for Rose and 6 for Moore. 

While Alani’s 6 came from two three pointers, it was not a night to remember for Q who went 0/3 from the three point line and shot just 6-of-17 from the field.  

Aside from the quick jump, as per usual with Villanova, the ultimate difference maker in this game was the three point shooting.  Jay Wright’s team did what they do best shooting at an unreal 66% from three, be-it just on 6 shots, while the less disciplined Owls chucked up 24 three pointers only to make 7, good on just 29% of shots.

Temple faces another tough opponent as they will be travelling to Mansfield Connecticut to take on Kemba Walker’s Connecticut Huskies.

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