Seventh-seeded Owls to play Penn State

Temple players and fans react after learning their destination in the NCAA tournament. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Temple will play Penn State on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Owls are a 7 seed; Penn State is a 10 seed. The game will be played in Tucson, Ariz.  Tipoff is 2:10 and the game will be shown on TNT.

For the first time in 3 years, Temple did not have an automatic bid in the tournament. But with its 25-7 record, national ranking and standing, the Owls were not considered a bubble team, more of a sure thing for an at-large invitation. Penn State is 19-14.

Temple has lost 3 consecutive years in the first round of the NCAA Tournament - falling to Michigan State in 2008, Arizona State in 2009 and Cornell last year.

Temple coach Fran Dunphy, speaking on campus after the pairings were announced, talked about Penn State standout Talor Battle: “We played against him two times when he was a freshman and a sophomore. He can get his own shot. He is a challenge for us.”

About the Owls being a 7 seed, Dunphy said: “I thought we were seeded fairly.”

About the Owls having lost in the first round the last 3 years, Dunphy said: “It’s real important for these kids. There is a lasting impression for these kids.”

The Owls lost in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament on Saturday to eventual champion Richmond, 58-54.

The Temple-Penn State winner will play the winner of San Diego State-Northern Colorado game. San Diego State is a 2 seed and Northern Colorado is a 15 seed.

Here is a look at Penn State:

NCAA Tournament Record: 9-10 (0 Titles, 1 Final Four).

Last NCAA: 2001, Lost in regional semifinal to Temple, 84-72

Head coach: Ed DeChellis

School: 104-137 (8 years). Overall: 219-230 (15 years).

About the Nittany Lions: Talor Battle, one of three players in NCAA history with 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 500 assists, broke his school's 56-year-old scoring record. He has made as many big baskets late in games as any player in college hoops over the last four years. He rarely comes out of any game. Jeff Brooks, an NBA-level athlete had a breakout senior season. Andrew Jones (Abington Friends) is a fifth-year defender and rebounder. David Jackson, another fifth-year player, is a glue player who can step out and make threes. Athletic and smart point guard Tim Frazier emergenced during the conference season. They play a slow-paced game because they have so little depth. The bench has contributed less than 14 percent of the team's points.