Friday, September 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

UMass game could help determine Owls' NCAA fate

The Owls will be tested in Saturday's game at Massachusetts. It is a game that could go a long way in determining if they make the NCAA tournament.

UMass game could help determine Owls' NCAA fate

Massachusetts´ Raphiael Putney (34) pulls in a rebound in front of Temple´s T.J. DiLeo (11) during the first half of a quarterfinals NCAA college basketball game at the Atlantic 10 tournament in Atlantic City, N.J., Friday, March 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Massachusetts' Raphiael Putney (34) pulls in a rebound in front of Temple's T.J. DiLeo (11) during the first half of a quarterfinals NCAA college basketball game at the Atlantic 10 tournament in Atlantic City, N.J., Friday, March 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

There’s a sports cliché about the next game being the most important game on a team’s schedule.

Usually, that’s a boring, yet true statement.

But for Temple, the game after next is the most important one.

Here’s why.

More coverage
 
Joe Juliano: What we know about Penn State so far
 
Mike Kern: Mike Kern's college football upset picks
 
VOTE: Should the NCAA ever reinstate Paterno's wins?
 
Buy local college sports tickets
 
Latest college sports videos

Temple (16-7, 5-4 Atlantic Ten) should destroy its next opponent, Duquesne (7-16, 0-9), on Thursday night at the Liacouras Center. The Dukes head to Philly with an 11-game losing streak.

But the Owls will be tested in Saturday’s game at Massachusetts. It is a game that could go a long way in determining if they make the NCAA tournament.

Right now, Temple is one of the last four teams in, according to ESPN college basketball analyst Joe Lunardi.

Beating the Minutemen (16-6, 6-3) would be recognized as a quality road win for the Owls.  While Temple did defeat Syracuse at a neutral site, its best true road win was at Villanova (15-9). The Owls’ other road wins are against – Kent State (13-11), Buffalo (9-15), George Washington (11-11) and Dayton (13-10) – teams with a combined 46-47 record. Of those four squads, Dayton has the best RPI ranking (116), according to CBSSports.com.  However, beating UMass, which has a 52 RPI, won’t be an easy task.

The Minutemen are 8-2 at the Mullins Center. Their two home losses came to third-ranked Miami on Dec. 1 and to George Washington on Jan. 19. Since then, UMass has won its three home games by an average of 13.6 points.  

The Owls' other remaining road games are at Charlotte (17-6) and at Fordham (6-18).

About this blog
Keith Pompey has been an Inquirer reporter since September 2004. He takes over the Sixers beat after covering the Temple men’s basketball team for the past three years and Temple football the past two seasons. Pompey also previously covered the Penn and Drexel men’s basketball team and Villanova football team after initially focusing on high school sports.

Pompey is a native Philadelphian and a University of Pittsburgh graduate. Follow him on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers or reach Keith at kpompey@phillynews.com.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected