Most college basketball fans are sad to see the college basketball season go. With just 8 games left, many Division 1 basketball fans are gearing up for their conference and NCAA tournament appearances.
The end could not come soon enough for Temple basketball fans.
The Owls are coming off a trip to Texas that was a good indicator of how the season has gone so far. They finished the trip 0-2 with losses to SMU and Houston.
In both games, the Owls did what the Owls have done best all season: give up points. The surprisingly strong SMU Mustangs handled Temple on all parts of the floor. The Owls only scored 52 points while giving up 75. Houston must have watched the SMU game because they did the same thing to the Owls that the Mustangs did, and won that game 88-74.
Many Temple fans must be thinking “it can’t get much worse than this, right?”
Temple has a really tough schedule this season, but they haven’t endured their toughest stretch yet. The Owls’ next 5 games looks like this: vs. No. 13 Louisville, vs. No. 23 SMU, vs. No. 24 Connecticut, @ No. 20 Memphis, @ No. 13 Louisville. That looks pretty scary doesn’t it?
6-16 (1-9) is where the Owls stand right now. If they play these next 5 games like they have been playing all season, Temple will likely be sitting at 6-21 (1-14) and at the very bottom of the American (a conference they were projected to finish 5th in).
That would be the worst start this program has ever seen. Fans haven’t seen a losing season on Broad Street since head coach Fran Dunphy’s first year with the team, and they are guaranteed to see another one this season.
What can the Owls do to stop a team like Louisville? Well, it won’t be easy.
The first step would be to play some defense, that’s something the Owls haven’t done well at all this year. Louisville is the top scoring offense in the conference this year and that spells bad news for Temple. If they give up 88 points to Houston, how are they supposed to slow down the Cardinals?
They would need to shut down Louisville PG Russ Smith, who is having himself a season. He is second in the conference in points per game and with 18.3 and third in the conference in assists with 4.7 per game. If Will Cummings/Josh Brown can slow down Smith, Temple may have a shot to shock this team.
Another key would be not letting Cardinals F Montrzel Harrell get easy shots, for he is the conference leader in field goal percentage. Harrell is shooting over 62% from the floor.
Anthony Lee has played surprisingly well of late. His 8.6 rebounds per game is second in the American and he is fourth in the conference in shooting (50%). He needs to have the game of his career if he has to play against Harrell all game.
Everything needs to go right for Temple to stand a chance and that hasn’t happened all season. The Owls haven’t knocked off a ranked team all season, but Thursday against Louisville would be a good day to finally beat one.