Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
TV/Radio: ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen and Doris Burke)/WIP 610-AM (Harry Donahue and John Baum)
NEW YORK - For as poorly as Temple has played of late, this is the kind of game fans salivate over when the schedule comes out in late summer.
It's always fun come to Madison Square Garden on a Saturday in the heart of the holiday season. Manhattan is forever swarming with people, but it's even more so at this time of year. The Macy's across Seventh Avenue might have as many people in it this afternoon as the self-proclaimed World's Most Famous Arena.
Then there's the matter of the team across the floor. Syracuse comes to MSG as the nation's No. 3-ranked team, carrying a gaudy 10-0 record so far this season.
Jim Boeheim has even had the temerity to allow his Orange to leave the state of New York twice in non-conference play. That's a rare feat for a program that in most years wouldn't recognize the Hudson River from the Mississippi.
Syracuse's fan base also speaks for itself, to put it politely - perhaps more politely than said fans do. There's no doubt that Khalif Wyatt, Scootie Randal and company would like nothing more than to silenece a crowd that considers the Garden a home away from home.
For Temple fans, I'm sure there will also be some thoughts about what could have been.
Among the perks of joining the Big East for all sports is supposed to be getting teams like Syracuse to come to your gym. But it won't happen, since Syracuse is leaving the conference at the exact same time that the Owls are walking into the club.
We all know at this point that Syracuse's decision to bolt for the ACC was a big factor in the Big East's collapse. From Washington, D.C., to Storrs, Conn., a lot of folks resent the Orange's move - and perhaps their ability to make it.
I somehow doubt that Temple fans would willingly fight a proxy battle on behalf of a group of teams that wouldn't let the Owls sit at their table for all those years. But I can't help thinking it would bring a smile to a lot of faces if Fran Dunphy's crew pulls off the upset today.
So here we are, with two proverbial ships passing each other at high noon. Whether they're going up, down or sideways is up to you.
But there's one other angle of today's game worth noting. Today marks the first time ever that Fran Dunphy and Jim Boeheim will coach against each other. They've overseen a combined 1,886 games across 61 seasons, with a total of 1,352 wins. But Dunphy never faced Syracuse at Penn, and hasn't done so at Temple until now.
With that in mind, I thought it would be neat to look at the last time each city school other than Villanova faced Syracuse. Obviously, the Wildcats get to do it every season.
Here's the list.
Drexel: December 22, 2010 (at the Carrier Dome)
La Salle: Never (seriously)
Penn: November 11, 2006 (BCA Invitational at the Carrier Dome)
Saint Joseph's: November 13, 2007 (Preseason NIT at the Carrier Dome)
Temple: March 28, 2002 (NIT third-place game at Madison Square Garden)
The Owls won that contest, 65-54. David Hawkins led the Owls with 20 points, and Ron Rollerson added 10. Yes, it's been 10 years since those two were on North Broad Street; and yes, Temple fans can fairly claim that their team is undefeated all-time against Syracuse at MSG.
Now for today's game. I'll be tweeting throughout the afternoon, along with The Inquirer's Keith Pompey and a bunch of other writers in the building. Follow along below for live updates.
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