Temple, which is off to a 3-1 start for the first time since the 2000-01 team won its four, is at Buffalo Saturday. That 2000-01 team, by the way, was the last of five that John Chaney took to the Final Eight. And those Owls would follow that opening winning streak by losing their next seven. It would then win six straight, and win 10 in a row before losing to defending national champion Michigan State by seven in Atlanta. But we digress.
This Temple team, which appears to be both deep and athletic, will finally play a home game on Wednesday, against Miami (Ohio). It will also host nationally ranked Tennessee on Dec. 13 on ESPN. And we hear that for whatever reasons, a fair amount of tickets are still available. We’ll see. You would think there’s no way that should be anything but a sellout. Or at least very close to one. Anyway, those are the only two home dates Temple has before its 12th game on Jan. 5. And the four games after that are also on the road, though two are at Penn and LaSalle.
So the Owls will be at the Liacouras Center only three times in their first 16 games, which seems almost impossible. But we’re told that’s just the way things broke. Which probably means next season the situation should be somewhat reversed. The Owls are at Kansas on Dec. 20, and at Villanova Dec. 29.
The first time the Owls are back-to-back at home is Jan. 22 and 24, against St. Louis and Charlotte. The only other time is in late February, when they actually get three in a row on North Broad Street, against Fordham (on the 18th), St. Bonaventure (22nd) and LaSalle (26th).
On paper, it’s not the easiest journey. But the feeling here is that it will only make Fran Dunphy’s team more equipped to deal with the stretch run and beyond. Not that Dunph usually needs much help in getting his guys ready for that stuff.