Record: 21-11 (14-4)
NCAA Tournament Seed: No. 10 (South)
How they got to the Big Dance
Temple won the regular season American Athletic Conference championship and made it to the conference championship game before losing to UConn. Their 14 conference wins are the strongest part of their resume. An 89-80 win over SMU in late January is their signature win, but they also have five RPI top 50 wins.
Why they are a legitimate contender
Temple has plenty of experience, having been to the NCAA Tournament seven of the last nine years. The AAC is a stronger conference than people give credit for being. Beating Connecticut twice certainly is impressive, but besting a strong SMU squad is Temple’s most impressive feat so far this season. The Owls’ guard play is worth noting, as Quenton DeCosey, Josh Brown and Devin Coleman are upperclassmen who have proven they can play in the big games. Coleman can make shots from anywhere, and Brown’s pass first mentality has helped him average almost five assists per game. Great guard play is invaluable in March, as we’ve seen year in and year out from teams that make deep tournament runs.
Why they are not a legitimate contender
Temple shoots 40.5 percent from the floor, which means that 314 NCAA Division I teams shoot better than they do. Their defense is solid, holding teams to 67.4 points per game, but it is not enough to make up for their poor shooting. Temple may win a game or two, but a shooting percentage that bad will catch up to them eventually.
Player to watch
Quenton DeCosey averages almost 16 points per game and leads Temple every game. He is averaging almost six rebounds per game, which is more than one would expect from a guard. DeCosey plays almost the entire game and backs down from no one. If the Owls want to go far, DeCosey has to play well.