Game 18: Temple — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Good Bad & Ugly
Penn was not able to close out the final Big 5 matchup in the way it had hoped in a 76-69 loss to Temple. The Quakers (3-15) jumped to an early lead, which got up to nine points in the second half at the Liacouras Center. But midway through the frame, the Owls went on a 27-12 run, allowing them to take the lead and clinch the victory.

THE GOOD: PLP. Sophomore guard Patrick Lucas-Perry was on fire for the Quakers Wednesday night. When he was on the court, he made himself noticed. Going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc during the first half in addition to netting three free-throws for 12 first-half points. For his 27 minutes on the night, he went 4-for-5, making another trey in the second. Temple coach Fran Dunphy was disappointed that the Owls had trouble containing Penn's "best jump shooter."

THE BAD: Coverage on Wyatt late in the second. Looking at Khalif Wyatt's five first-half points, you might wonder why Penn was unable to pull away with the win on such tight coverage of Temple's main man. But midway through the second, the senior forward exploded, and the Quakers couldn't answer as he notched 21 second-half points for a total of 26. After sinking a three-pointer five minutes into the frame, the Red and Blue just could not stop him, especially after he scored nine straight points for the Owls in less than two minutes midway through the half.

THE UGLY: 27-12 second-half Temple run. The Quakers just couldn't keep up with the Owls after the shift in Wyatt's game and a set of threes from graduate student guard T.J. DiLeo in addition to a ten-point second-half performance from sophomore forward Anthony Lee completely turned the tide of the game. The Red and Blue got up to a nine-point lead, but just started to run out of exhaust on the defensive end, as the Owls took the lead and ultimately the 'W'.

Penn basketball to host Quinnipiac in CBI postseason game Wednesday

Penn men's basketball missed out on its shot at an Ivy playoff and the chance to play for an NCAA tournament bid last week in a crushing loss to Princeton — but the Quakers will have at least a chance to end on a better note.

After missing out on a bid to the National Invitational Tournament, the Quakers will host a game in the College Basketball Invitational Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against Quinnipiac out of the Northeast Conference. The Bobcats lost to eventual NEC champion Long Island in the conference semifinals. For Penn it is the program's 25th post-season appearance, but just second outside of the NCAA tournament.

Quinnipiac beat Yale, 68-62, in November. The other common opponent between the Bobcats and Quakers this season is Robert Morris, which lost to Qunnipiac twice this season by narrow margins. Penn beat RMU by six in the fourth game of the season. The Bobcats have an RPI of 155, compared to Penn, which sits at 98.

If Penn advances, it would play the winner of Delaware-Butler. The Quakers beat Delaware by nine earlier this season. Butler is the two-time NCAA tournament runner-up. The quarterfinal game would be Monday, March 19th.

Princeton will also play in the CBI, traveling to Evansville, in a bracket that also features Wofford and Pittsburgh. You can view the full CBI bracket here.

Earlier in the day, Harvard heard its fate during the NCAA tournament selection show. The 12th seeded Crimson travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to face Vanderbilt, a five-seed in the East region. The Commodores beat No. 1 overall seed Kentucky earlier Sunday to capture the SEC title. Should Harvard advance, they will likely face No. 4 Wisconsin in the next round.

No Ivy teams made the NIT, though Princeton was considered a bubble team for that tournament. Philadelphia's lone representative in the NCAA tournament is fifth-seeded Temple, which will take on the winner of California/Southern Florida in the Midwest region. La Salle and St. Joseph's will both represent the Big 5 in the NIT, facing Minnesota and Northern Iowa, respectively. Drexel, which barely missed the cut for the NCAA tournament, will also play in the NIT against Central Florida. Yale will also get another chance to play, facing former Princeton coach Sydney Johnson at Fairfield in the first round of the College Insider Tournament (CIT). The Stags lost in the MAAC conference finals last week.

On Friday, Penn Athletics emailed basketball season ticket holders informing them that the Quakers would play in a postseason tournament, hosting a game at the Palestra Wednesday if the Quakers didn't make the NIT. The email offered an exclusive presale to season ticket holders, adding the general admission tickets would go on sale Monday.

CBI host teams pay a substantial sum to play the game on their home court. According to this piece from Hamptonroads.com, it costs $35,000 to host a first-round matchup. Teams recoup costs in ticket and concession sales, as well as eliminated travel costs. Chairback seats will cost $20, general admissions will be $12 and student tickets will be $5. Penn needs only to sell about 3,000 tickets $12 to make back the entrance-fee cost. That shouldn't be a problem for Penn, which averaged about 4,400 per home game this season.

The Red and Blue Crew will sell student tickets to the game on Locust Walk Tuesday and Wednesday.

Temple’s win previews a packed Palestra

Getting excited for tonight’s Big Five battle with St. Joes? We certainly are.

Though we still can't confirm that tonight's game will be a sell-out, this morning fans got their first serving of a packed Palestra where even at 11 a.m., the venue crammed in 8,722 fans for an ACC/A-10 showdown between Maryland and Temple. Fran Dunphy earned his 165th win as the Owls (13-5) topped a formidable Terps squad 73-60.

Takeaway? The Palestra is hands down one of the best places for college hoops when it’s sold-out. Maryland fans and Temple fans brought the thunder, which we captured via twitter after the break:

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Big 5 is back and so are the rollouts

Hey Temple kids — Your fight song and hand motions are cool 'n' all, but what gives with the no-rollouts? We know the game was pretty early this year, but that's no reason to skimp out on one the Big 5's best traditions.

The Red and Blue Crew was by no means in mid-season form with their quips, but — like in Wharton classes — they got an A for participation. Here's a recap of the night's rollouts, with our own DP scoring.

This one — not their best work. (-4)

This, however, was quite punny. It reads, "Dunphy, we mustache you a question, but we'll shave it for later. #NoShaveNovember"  Well done, RBC. (+7)

Others from the Red and Blue Crew included:

"Congrats on the Big East". (+16)

"Temple: Where you go to pray that (maybe) we will employ you." (-9)

For those of you keeping track, the final score was Penn 10, Temple 0.

Bad blood brewing in the Big 5 between Temple, Villanova

Philadelphia_Big_5_logo-thumb1The Big 5 has always been about intense local rivalries. But a growing quarrel off the court may be putting cracks in the foundation of Philadelphia's classic conference.

Yesterday, the Big East invited six teams to join its conference among ongoing realignment. Not invited: Temple, which has tried mightily to put itself in a position to move its football team out of the Mid-Atlantic Conference. According to Dick Weiss of the New York Daily news:

Temple officials feel Villanova did not want another Philadelphia team in the league and used the the support of the other Big East Catholic schools to keep their school out when it came to a vote on which six teams to invite.

The Inquirer's Mike Jensen also weighed in on the news. The beginning of his column was ominous, to say the least:

Let's start with the long view: The Big Five is in jeopardy.

If it splinters again, if all the schools stop playing each other, Villanova will be the culprit, again.

and then towards the end:

Temple is smart enough not to comment on all this right now. We doubt too much of it would be printable

And both writers think this politicking could have bigger implications for Philly basketball. From Weiss:

If Temple is relgated to the MAC in football and the Atlantic 10 in basketball, its annual basketball civil war against Villanova at the Liacoras Center this season promises to turn ugly and could eventually lead to the disolution to the long time round round City Series game that has become the corner stone of the hallowed Philadelphia Big 5.

What does this mean for the Quakers? Penn, it appears, is at the mercy of the powerhouses in the Big 5. Especially since the program has not been successful in the City Series for a few years, the Red and Blue don't have a ton of sway. The gap between Temple, Villanova and the rest of the Big 5 has widened — Neither the Owls nor the Wildcats have lost to Penn, La Salle or St. Joe's in the last three years. The sad reality is that the Big 5 may be becoming less relevant.

And there are other issues the conference must deal with. This year St. Joe's announced it would no longer play all of its Big 5 games in the Palestra, as the Hawks want to build their fanbase back up at home. St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli is one of the biggest backers of the Big 5, but even he realized the dire situation his program was in.

Amidst a year of drastic conference realignment in college sports, the Ivy League appears unblemished. But Penn's other affiliation, the Big 5, may not be long for this town.

Last bit on the Dunphy mustache

Fran Dunphy's mustache is no more, but before we really acknowledge that fact, I thought I'd share a photo sent to me by Director of Penn Athletics Communications Mike Mahoney. It's of Dunphy and his 1991-92 Penn team. You'll notice in the back left a young man by the name of Jerome Allen.

Dunph and 91-92 teamDunphy, who's coached Temple for four years now, shaved his trademark 'stache today in the basement of the Liacouras Center in honor of his former player Dionte Christmas' graduation.

The700Level.com has a great recap of the event, but here are a few words from the man of the hour himself:

"I know that everybody's here because I'm shaving my mustache," said Dunphy, with Christmas seated beside him. "But the bigger story is that this young man has graduated from Temple University."

"My family has never seen me without it. My wife never has. And, uh, I don't know...she wasn't all that fired up," Dunphy laughed.

Here's a video from Philly.com and a picture from the 700 level below

The700level.com

(The700level.com)

Fran Dunphy’s mustache through the years

Last night as I searched the DP's archives for a useable photo of Fran Dunphy to highlight his impending run in with the razor, there were just too many good ones to choose from. So we put together a small compendium of photos: Fran Dunphy's mustache through the years. And by years I mean the years we have digital photos of the 'stache. Enjoy:

Fran Dunphy to shave trademark mustache

A friend who covers Big 5 basketball forwarded along this media release from Temple Athletics. It speaks for itself.

Date: Thursday, October 6, 2011

Time: 11:15 a.m – Noon

Place: Al Shrier Media Room- the Liacouras Center

Event: Temple University Men’s Basketball Head coach Fran Dunphy will shave his mustache in honor of former player Dionte Christmas’ graduation.  It will mark the first time in 40 years (1971) that the Owls’ coach will have a clean upper lip.  Dionte Christmas will also be present for the historic shaving.

A historic shaving it will be. For more on the 'stache, see DP Sports alum Dave Zeitlin's write up for CSN Philly.

Penn hoops to open season against Temple?

While Penn is yet to announce any of its 2011-12 men's basketball schedule, a few early dates have leaked in from the Quakers' competitors, and now it appears a season opener at home is has been set.

Temple released its non-conference schedule, leading off with a Nov. 14 tilt with Penn at the Palestra, the earliest these two teams have every played according to Temple's website. After traveling to the Liacouras center last year, Penn hosts the Owls and former Quakers head man Fran Dunphy this season.

This is a great move by those involved with the scheduling (I seem to remember the coach of one team playing for the coach of the other...). A Big 5 matchup against a Top-25 team from a year ago spells for a great night at the Palestra, which should draw a crowd. Temple won the last matchup, 73-56, on Jan. 19, and has won every year since Dunphy's first season across the Schuylkill in 2006-07. The only issue with the date is it falls on a Monday -- not the biggest draw for students.

The other schedule tidbits which have trickled in so far are a Thanksgiving tournament hosted at the Palestra by the Philly Hoop Group (featuring former Penn player Andy Toole as head coach at Robert Morris), and a reading-days trip to sunny southern California to play UCLA.

Temple-Penn connections

Today's DP had an article by Kevin Esteves about Penn's connections to various NCAA tournament-bound teams, as well as a column by Brian Kotloff with a little advice on who to root for in the tourney.

As Penn fans know, the closest connection to the Big Dance — both geographically and not — is Temple's Fran Dunphy, who coached the Quakers until 2006, when he took them to the tournament. And as Brian mentioned, Dunphy's staff is a collection of Penn guys. There's assistant Shawn Trice, classmate and close friend of Jerome Allen, Matt Langel, Class of 2000, and Dave Duke, who assisted Dunph at Penn before he the two hopped for North side of town.

Dunphy and his staff are by all accounts accomplished — he's at 417 wins all time, won the Big 5 last year and won the Atlantic 10 championship in 2008 — but his record in the post season, 1-12, is quite the opposite. Penn hoops historians will remember the one win came with Allen and Trice in 1994.

My man Dave Zeitlin wrote a piece about the former Quakers and their quest for postseason success for the Penn Gazette Sports blog, in which Shawn Trice tells it like it is:

“At heart, we are Penn guys. But we do everything we can to help Temple be the best they can be.”

And while I'm on a hot streak of finding great pictures today, here's one of Trice from Zeitlin's post:

shawn-trice