Temple Owls Basketball: A Look Ahead


After one of the most inconsistent, yet promising starts to the season, Temple now sits at an extremely modest 10-10 on the season.

After back-to-back wins against West Virginia and Florida State, two teams still currently in the top 10, the Temple Owls looked ready to dominate the AAC this year. With a Strength of Schedule ranking currently 16th in the nation, Temple had by far the hardest out-of-conference slate in the AAC (Uconn is second at 43rd). Most believed these stern tests would get the team ready for a very competitive year in the conference. After a 1-6 start to conference play, expectations have been leveled.

The only way to save this season at this point for the Owls is the conference tournament. With how wide open the American Athletic is, any team that can put together a run can win the tournament. It will be that much more imperative that the Temple Owls pick up some momentum leading up to the tournament, which starts March 9th. We take a look at their next 5 games and what chances they have of righting the ship:

1) vs. Memphis, January 25th

This will be a stout test for the Owls, as Memphis has gotten out to a 3-2 start in the conference and 13-5 overall. The key in this game will be if the Owls can work efficiently on offense against a very good Tigers defensive unit. Memphis currently leads the AAC in blocks and steals, and is second in the conference in defensive FG%, holding opponents to a rough 38% per game in conference. If the Owls can neutralize Dedric Lawson (averaging 20 and 10 a game), they will like their chances to compete in this one.

Prediction: Temple Wins 62-58

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2) @ Houston, January 28th

Coming off a midweek home game, traveling to Houston for a Saturday night game will be tough for the Owls. Houston is 13-5 just like Memphis, however, they boast a different kind of threat. Houston is a guard-heavy team, led by upperclassmen Rob Gray Jr. and Damyean Dotson. They currently lead the AAC in three-point %, as well as lead the conference in turnover margin. This game will be tough for the Temple Owls especially with the short travel if they want any chance to win they will need Obi Enechionyia to exploit Houston’s less than impressive wings.

Prediction:  Houston Wins 77-65

3) @ Tulane, January 31st

This is the first of a back-to-back that Temple must sweep. Tulane is 4-14 on the year, and have only had two actual competitive games in conference play thus far. They are averaging almost 80 points allowed per game this year, which is good for 315th out of 347 teams in the country. Combined with the fact they have the worst rebounding margin in the conference, Temple should be in business. A loss in New Orleans would be devastating for the Owls, but that shouldn’t be an issue.

Prediction: Temple Wins 83-69

4) vs. South Florida, February 5th

If there’s another conference game the Owls should be confident of victory, it’s the home tilt with the USF Bulls. USF is 0-6 in conference play and has only had a single digit loss once in those games. Temple won all three matchups with the Bulls last season, with Enechionyia averaging 14.6 PPG in those contests. Expect more of the same from Temple in one of their only straight forward conference duels.

Prediction: Temple Wins 75-56

5) vs. SMU, February 9th

After a 14-point loss in Dallas on January 4th, Temple will be looking for revenge in their backyard. SMU currently sit at 16-4 and have just one loss in the conference which was by two at leaders Cincinnati. It will be crucial for the Temple Owls to shut down Semi Ojeleye, who had 19 and 9 in their first matchup. After getting outrebounded 42-25 in Dallas, Fran Dunphy will have to make the necessary adjustments to keep the Owls in this key conference matchup.

Prediction: SMU wins 74-68

Next: Temple Owls Basketball: Sloppy Play Dooms the Owls

While building a tournament resume is becoming unrealistic, the Temple Owls need momentum heading into late February and conference tournament time. A 10-10 record doesn’t necessarily reflect how competitive Temple have been this season, and they will look to prove that in their coming games. Nothing would serve them better than a winning record to close the season and improving on their conference standing for the ever-important tournament.