Owls Looking to make March Madness noise

The seasoned Temple Owls are looking for their fourth NCAA tournament bid, but, with their experienced team, are expected to make it into the farther rounds. The Owls are coached by the experienced Fran Dunphy, who has been to 9 NCAA tournaments in 17 years, an impressive numbers. Last year the Owls were ranked 15th in the nation by the end of the season, but sadly lost to a heavily favored SDSU in the second round.

This year, the Owls are ranked twenty second in the country with 3 games to go, and if they keep their streek alive can soon be at the same place as they were at the end of last season. Though Temple was good last year, they are even deeper and more experienced this year, and hopefully that results in an impressive tourney run.

Fernandez is the leader of this Owls team.

The key to success this season has been the stepped up play of the backcourt, comprised of Khalif Wyatt, Juan Fernandez, and Ramone Moore. The two senior guards, Moore and Fernandez, have stepped up their play and have shown that they have a knack to run the offense. Meanwhile, the junior star Wyatt has been playing like he is a fifth year senior, he will be the star of the team next year if he keeps up this miraculous season.

Juan, recently named Big 5 player of the week, has been turning heads ever since he arrived in 2008, but he is just showing that he has the skill to play with anyone. Fernandez averages 11.5 ppg, 2 boards, and almost 4 assists per game. The senior from Argentina has shown that he can not only play individual basketball, but he knows and wants to play team basketball. He is careful with the ball (averaging only 2 TO per game), knows how to find the open shooter (nearly 4 APG), and can shoot the rock. These are all attributes of a good point guard.

Moore is the star of this team, leading them in scoring.

Moore was also recently named Big 5 and Atlantic 10 player of the week; he has been the “rock” for the Owls rock-solid offense that averages an astounding 76 ppg. While the rest of the team averages 76 he alone puts up 18.2 ppg (leads A-10), and is second on the team with 3.3 assists per game. He has come up big in the 10-game win streak and has more than 20 points in five of those ten games. He has improved from last year in almost every category, and is also playing almost thirty-seven minutes per game. He is showing improvement in his game time decisions, but still needs help on his turnovers; if he gets rid of those then he is an NBA-type prospect.

The final guard of the trio is Khalif Wyatt; he is only a juniorm but plays with more poise then most seniors. As a junior, Wyatt averages 17 ppg (second in the A-10 only to Moore). He is showing great crunch time ability, and I would not be surprised if he hits big shots to win games or close them out in the weeks to come. His 83% free throw percentage makes him someone that can score points from the inside, outside, free throw line, and just about anywhere on the court. He will lead the Owls in clutch situations, and will probably be the man not to foul in any game to come.

Wyatt completes one of the best guard trios in the nation.

These three guards are the heart and soul of Temples offense, but the spark off of the bench is senior guard T.J. DiLeo, who if you look at the stats looks like he is a walk-on. Though DiLeo only averages 2.9 points per game, and 2.1 boards, he comes off the bench and hustles every play; he plays like it is his last game every game. In a game earlier against George Washington, he made a three with just over 4 minutes to play that changed the whole momentum of the game, sparking the come back to give the Owls their eight straight win. T.J. may not be the most talented kids on the basketball court, but he puts all his effort, his whole body, and he plays with the most heart as anyone to ever play the game.

The veteran Temple Owls, with the talent that they have, should not only make the NCAA tournament, but they should do very well once in. This team plays as one and if they have one of their three weapons going, then their is no stopping the Temple Owls.


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Categories: CBB, Temple

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