Back on the morning of Dec. 18, Temple was 8-1 and on the verge of cracking the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Six weeks later, the Owls are 13-6 after losing five of their next 10 games.
It’s obvious that Temple misses guards Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez, who graduated last spring.
“I say there have been some inconsistencies and we certainly are working on them every day,” said Temple coach Fran Dunphy, whose squad faces Richmond Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center. “We miss a little bit of playmaking from those guys who did graduate. That’s becoming a little bit more evident.
“But I think we are inconsistent on the offensive end. And the defense can be better as well.”
Averaging an Atlantic Ten leading 17.7 points, senior combo guard Khalif Wyatt has been the Owls' only consistent playmaker. Sophomore center Anthony Lee (11.8 points and 7.4 rebounds) is Temple’s second-best option. However, he needs more touches to become effective.
Overall, Temple (2-3 A-10) is ranked 259 nationally in field-goal percentage (41.4) and 238 in three-point field-goal percentage (31.8). The Owls rank 157 in three-point percentage defense (32.9) and 169 in field-goal percentage defense (42.3).
“We have 12 games left,” Dunphy said of improving. “Hopefully we can get ourselves in position to do some damage.”
The Owls look to jumpstart things against the Spiders (13-8, 3-3).
Richmond has won two straight and four of the previous seven series meetings. However, the Spiders’ last victory at the Liacouras Center was a 59-52 decision on Jan. 17, 2004. Since then, Temple is 3-0 against Richmond at home.
The Owls must play solid perimeter defense in order to get another home victory.
The Spiders are second in the conference in three-point percentage (38.1) and boasts the conference’s deepest backcourt in starting guards Darien Brothers and Cedrick Lindsay and reserves Kendall Anthony (the 2012 conference rookie of the year) and Wayne Sparrow.
“Brothers misses very few shots,” Dunphy said. “Anthony, coming off of the bench, is really a tough guy to guard as well. So I can go on and on, such a bunch of terrific players. I really like their team. I like how [Richmond coach] Chris [Mooney] coaches. Very difficult matchup for us.”
Here’s a look at the probable starters, coaches’ records and series information:
TEMPLE (13-6, 2-3 Atlantic Ten)
22 Jake O’Brien F 6-9 Gr. 7.8 ppg. 2.5 rpg.
3 Anthony Lee F 6-9 Soph. 11.8 ppg. 7.4 rpg.
33 Scootie Randall G/F 6-6 Sr. 11.1 ppg 6.8 rpg.
1 Khalif Wyatt G 6-4 Sr. 17.7 ppg. 4 apg.
2 Will Cummings G 6-2 Soph. 5.7 ppg. 1.6 spg.
RICHMOND (13-8, 3-3)
11 Deion Taylor F 6-7 Fr. 3.9 ppg. 2.4 rpg.
22 Greg Robbins F 6-5 Sr. 6.9 ppg. 3.6 rpg
33 Alonzo Nelson-Ododa C 6-9 Fr. 3.5 ppg. 4 rpg.
3 Darien Brothers G 6-3 Sr. 15.9 ppg. 2.6 rpg.
2 Cedrick Lindsay G 6-1 Jr. 9.8 ppg. 3.3 apg.
Fran Dunphy (457-234 career record)
Temple owns a 10-9 series advantage. But Richmond has won straight and four of the last seven games.