DAYTON, Ohio – What’s different now compared to the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 NCAA tournament – which all ended in opening-round setbacks for Temple?
“Other times we’ve been here, it seems like we might be happy just to be here,” Owls senior guard Khalif Wyatt said. “I don’t think that's the feeling this time around. I think guys are focused, and the main goal is to try to get a win, get some wins.”
That was evident by the demeanor Temple, seeded ninth in the East Regional, displayed on the podium during Thursday’s press conference and in the locker room. before practice Gone was the laughter and chitchat it displayed in previous tourneys. Instead, the Owls sort of had fierce us-against-the-world glares on their faces.
That made it obvious that Temple (23-9) is way past the excitement associated with reaching the field of 68. The Owls are focused solely on defeating eighth-seeded North Carolina State in Friday’s 1:40 p.m. second-round matchup here at University of Dayton Arena. It would mark Temple’s second victory in six consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
“Yeah, as Khalif said, we all got a chip on our shoulder,” Scootie Randall said. “We have something to prove.”
“I think this feeling [is one that] we don’t want to go home too soon,” Randall added. “So we know we’ve got a chance to change that, and that’s just our mindset right now.”