This past week was filled with plenty of good and not much bad for the Temple Owls.
“I think any time, in this league, you can win two games in a week, you feel very good about your team,” said coach Fran Dunphy, whose squad had impressive Atlantic Ten victories over La Salle and Charlotte. “We played well against two very good teams, one being on the road [Sunday] in front of a very good crowd and at our place Thursday night against La Salle.”
If every week was like this past one, the Owls (19-8, 8-5 A-10) would easily qualify for the NCAA tournament. It will be interesting to see if Temple can duplicate those performances in this week’s contests at the Liacouras Center.
Here’s what’s on tap:
Thursday vs. Detroit, 7 p.m.: The Gotham City Classic contest was originally scheduled for Dec. 28, but postponed due to weather conditions. Now, the Titans (18-10) travel to Philly in search of a quality road win to impress the NCAA selection committee. Junior guard Ray McCallum Jr., a McDonald’s All American in high school, is the son of Detroit coach Ray McCallum. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder leads the team in scoring (19 points per game), assists (4.6), steals (1.8) and blocked shots (19 total). Forward Nick Minnerath (15.2 points), guard Jason Calliste (14.1) and forward Doug Anderson (11.6) are Detroit’s other double-figure scorers. Forward Juwan Howard Jr. (nine points) rounds out the Titans’ starting lineup. His father, Juwan Howard, was an 18-year NBA veteran. Thursday will mark the teams’ second meeting. Temple won, 87-76, on Dec. 28, 1968.
Saturday vs. Rhode Island 2 p.m.: The Rams (8-18, 3-10) have five days to prepare for the Owls. The time off will also provide a much-needed break for first-year coach Dan Hurley. Rhode Island has lost two straight games and eight of its last 10. The Rams rank last in the A-10 in scoring offense (61.8 points per game) and field-goal percentage (40.1) and assists (10.8). The Owls hold a 56-15 series advantage. Temple has won six straight and 22 of the last 27 series meetings. Guard Xavier Munford, who averages 17.2 points, is the league’s second-leading scorer behind Temple’s Khalif Wyatt (19.4).
Follow Keith Pompey on Twitter @pompeysgridlock