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Full Court Press: How ‘bout them Owls!

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports


Virtually going unnoticed by most of the national media was Temple’s victory over SMU on January 24.

Coach Fran Dunphy’s Owls knocked off No. 8 SMU from the ranks of the unbeaten, edging Larry Brown’s Mustangs, 89-80, at the Liacouras Center.

SMU entered the contest with an 18-0 mark and the last Division 1 team in the country with an unbeaten record.

Perhaps the victory lost a little of its sizzle due to the fact that the Mustangs are ineligible for the postseason.

It was the third time this season that Temple prevailed over a team ranked in the Top 25.

It was the seventh time in the last eight seasons that the Owls knocked off a Top-10 opponent.

Earlier in the season the Owls picked up road wins over Cincinnati and the UConn Huskies.

Senior Devin Coleman (Philadelphia/Friends Central) had a monster game for Temple, going 7-for-7 from long range (8-8 overall), finishing with a career-high 23 points. Senior Quenton DeCosey (Union, NJ/St. Joe’s Metuchen) finished with 19 points while junior Daniel Dingle (Bronx, NY/St. Raymond) chipped in with a career-best 14.

The Owls (11-8, 5-3 AAC) followed up their win with a real headscratcher, losing to East Carolina, 64-61, on January 27.

If Dunphy’s squad can put together a late season winning streak and get into the NCAA tournament field they will be one of those teams that nobody wants to play.

They seem to rise to the occasion in big games!


Cream rising to the top

It’s still early, but there are a few teams that are emerging from the pack and looking more and more like potential Final Four participants.

I really like Roy Williams North Carolina Tar Heels, Maryland, Iowa (in spite of their road loss at Maryland) and Oklahoma.

Out West it’s a little less clear, as a dominant team has yet to emerge, but keep your eye on Dana Altman’s Oregon Ducks and traditional power Arizona.

I am predicting that this year there will be a surprise team that gets hot and finds their way to the Final Four.


A little of this and a little of that


  • Temple’s Devin Coleman’s record-breaking performance from beyond-the-arc in the Owls win over SMU tied the Temple record for three-point percentage in a game, matching Pepe Sanchez’s 100% (7-7) game against the Rhode Island Rams on February 16, 1997.
  • You just can’t beat the Big East for competitive drama. Just when you thought Villanova was going to take control of the league Ed Cooley’s Providence Friars march into Philly and knock off the Wildcats ending their 22 game conference winning streak. Two days later the Friars fail to defend their home court and lose to Xavier. At this point in the season there are 7 Big East teams in Jeff Sagarin’s top 50 basketball ratings. It’s anybody’s guess who will hold the Big East championship hardware in March, but I like how Xavier is trending. By the way the ‘Nova/Friar TV viewing audience was the most-watched Big East contest on Fox Sports since the Big East/Fox partnership was formed on 2013-14.
  • In the A-10, St. Joe’s (17-3, 6-1 A-10) deserves a little love as they are in hot pursuit of VCU (15-5, 7-0 A-10) and Dayton (17-3, 7-1 A-10). Phil Martelli’s squad has a tough road game on Saturday, January 30 against Rhode Island. Looking ahead they will host the Dayton Flyers on February 17. The Hawks are led by Isaiah Miles (17.3 ppg) and DeAndre Benbry (17.2 ppg) and an air-tight defense that has limited opponents to 67.7 ppg.
  • There is a battle going on in the Colonial Athletic Association and Hofstra is right in the middle of the fight. The Pride (15-6, 7-2 CAA) is tied at the top of the standings with UNCW. Last night the Pride edged Elon 66-64 on Jaun’ya Green’s short range jumper with 2.1 seconds left in regulation. James Madison, William & Mary and Towson are a game back at 6-3. Like the Big East, it is anybody’s guess who will win the conference tournament in Baltimore and with it the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The sentimental favorite is Tony Shaver’s W &M Tribe who has never made an NCAA appearance.
  • The Monmouth bench finally got in on the action in last night’s, 66-51, win over Quinnipiac. ESPN Sports Center darling Dan Pillari nailed a pair of free throws in the game’s final moments. The bench celebrated in style. The Hawks, 16-5 overall (No. 79 in Sagarin rankings), lead the MAAC with an 8-2 record followed by Siena and Iona at 7-3.





Congratulations to Marist’s Tori Jarosz who scored her 1,000 this week.

North Carolina Coach Roy Williams recently became the first coach to win 350 or more games at two Division 1 basketball programs. The Tar Heel beat Virginia Tech 75-70 on January 24 to give Williams his 350th win at UNC. Williams won 418 games at Kansas.s Coach Roy Williams became the first coach to win 350 or more games at two Division 1 basketball programsht.

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CAA moves South


The Colonial Athletic Association recently announced a three year arrangement to hold their basketball tournament in Charleston, South Carolina.

The CAA is in the final year of their tournament contract with the City of Baltimore where they have held their championships since 2004.


A final word


The women’s college game went to a four (10 minute) quarter format this year. Previously, they followed the traditional two, 20 minute halves of play. Many say it has helped speed the pace of play and with it scoring is up… will the men follow suit?


Finally, a shout out to Boston College’s junior guard Kelly Hughes (Point Pleasant, NJ/Point Pleasant HS). Hughes has started all 20 games for the Eagles and is leading the team in scoring, averaging 14.1 ppg. The Eagles are having an outstanding season with a 13-7 record.


Keep shooting!


Follow Bob on Twitter for all the latest in college hoop happenings, game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

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Bob Whitney

Bob is a college basketball columnist here at He also covers Yale football and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
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