Temple enters the 2012-13 season with an unprecedented and historic resume in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Owls joined the conference in 1982 and haven’t glanced in the rearview mirror since. In the 30 years Temple has been a part of the conference, the Owls have advanced to the NCAA tournament a remarkable 21 times, including 10 regular-season A-10 championships and nine conference tournament titles under the guidance of John Chaney and Fran Dunphy.
The plethora of banners hanging atop the Liacouras Center are visible proof that the collegiate basketball team that calls North Philadelphia home has one amazing history. The 2012-13 campaign is different than past years though. This season marks the end of one era, but the celebratory future of another. Temple will be departing from the A-10 at the conclusion of this season to join the Big East.
Last season proved to be another successful season for the Cherry and White. Behind seniors Ramone Moore, Juan Fernandez and Micheal Eric, Temple cruised to a 24-8 regular-season record that saw the Owls win 13 of their final 14 regular-season games.
When the A-10 tournament came around, it was Temple which was the favorite to win its 10th conference tournament. UMass had other plans, though, sending the Owls home early without a win in the conference tournament for just the fourth time ever. Despite the loss, the Owls still managed to earn the fifth seed in the NCAA tournament but lost to South Florida in their opener.
“There are no excuses, we just didn’t get it done,” Dunphy said. “It will be a source of great motivation going forward.”
Although last year ended prematurely, it is a new year, with some recognizable faces and a few new players who are looking to make an immediate impact.
“We’re looking forward to it and we have some interesting decisions to make as far as playing time, but that all works itself out,” Dunphy said of the roster turnover.
In what will be their last season in the A-10, Temple is still among one of the better teams in a conference that is projected to have its most successful year from top-to-bottom in quite some time. The Owls were picked fourth in the league’s preseason poll.
Leading the Owls will be Philahoops Preseason Player of the Year Khalif Wyatt, who is poised for a breakout year after averaging 17.1 points per game last year, along with 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per contest.
“There has been a lot of energy,” Wyatt said. “Everybody is really excited. We have a real competitive group and we have guys who want to be good and want to win.”
When looking at the 2012-13 schedule, there is much to be excited about. The Owls will appear on television 14 times, including 13 national broadcasts.
The Owls will kick off the season on Tuesday, Nov. 13 when they travel to Ohio to face Kent State on ESPN.
The Owls’ next notable game comes on Dec. 5, as they take the short trip to Villanova (ESPN2). Next, Temple will look to conquer what they did last year and upset Duke at the Izod Center in New Jersey on Dec. 8 (ESPN). That matchup preludes the highly anticipated Gotham City Classic matchup with Syracuse that serves to be an early Christmas gift on Dec. 22 at one of the most historic basketball venues in the world, Madison Square Garden (ESPN2). A few weeks later, Temple will travel to Kansas and take on Bill Self’s Jayhawks (CBS).
Conference play will kick off on Jan. 10 at Xavier with the A-10 season concluding with the conference championship at its new home in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
All totaled, Temple will face six opponents (Syracuse, Kansas, Villanova, Duke, Butler and VCU) that have made at least one appearance in the NCAA Final Four since 2003. Three of those six teams (Syracuse ‘03, Kansas ’08, Duke ‘10) have captured a national championship during that time.
Of his schedule, Dunphy said, “It’s what has been placed in front of us. We are equal parts excited and having the appropriate fear.”
(Click HERE for Temple’s schedule.)
Dunphy will be guiding the Owls for the seventh season on North Broad Street and is one of the all-time winningest coaches in Big 5 history. After taking over for Chaney in 2006, the Owls made it to the NCAA tournament in 2008 for the first time since 2001.
In his time at Temple, the Owls have remained a powerhouse in the A-10, advancing to the NCAA tournament every year since 2008, including three conference tournament championships (2008, ’09 and ’10).
There is much to be excited about for the Owls in 2012-13. The team has a brand-new practice facility, will play a record 17 games at home, and will get a ton of exposure on national television.
Losing three starters in Fernandez, Moore and Eric will be a tough task to overcome, but it could pay dividends with a fresh arsenal of talent.
Dunphy has arguably the best depth on the roster since he took on the job. It may take the Owls a few games to gel with a starting lineup that hasn’t seen much regular-season action together, but I expect the Owls to be among the top three in the A-10 by season’s end and there is no reason why Temple shouldn’t win at least 20 games during the regular season.
More Temple coverage
-Philahoops editor Aaron Bracy takes an inside look at Temple HERE.
-For a capsule review of Temple’s 2011-12 season, click HERE.
-For all of Philahoops’ Owls coverage, bookmark the Temple page HERE.
Latest posts by Chase Senior (see all)
- George Mason joining the Atlantic 10 - March 25, 2013
- Indiana 58, Temple 52; Owls hang with Hoosiers, but go cold down the stretch - March 24, 2013
- NCAA Tournament coverage: Inside the locker room with Temple - March 23, 2013