Juan Fernandez Saves The Day for Temple
The early afternoon games on the "real" first day of the NCAA tournament (these play-in games are bullshit) left nothing to be desired. A buzzer beater in the Butler-Old Dominion contest, a clutch three to propel Morehead State to a victory over one of the 11 Big East teams dancing this year, Brandon Knight's driving layup with two seconds left to spoil the upset for Princeton…
Oh, how sweet it is, and it's about freakin' time. I began at Temple as a freshman in 2003 and they haven't won a single tourney game until yesterday. Way to make me wait. Speaking of waiting, that was Fran Dunphy's first NCAA tournament win in 17 years! Insane.
Temple's last NCAA tourney win came in 2001 in the Sweet Sixteen when the Owls beat… you guessed it, the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Owls were sent home by Tom Izzo's Michigan State squad in the next round and didn't see a tourney bid for seven years. Man, that sucked.
What stood out almost as much as Temple's victory yesterday was the performance of Penn State senior guard Talor Battle. That kid can play. His 23 points led the Nittany Lions is scoring and Battle may have very well made a name for himself on the national stage.
Hey, maybe he can throw his name into the hat for the NBA Draft for the season that won't happen next year!
Temple goes on to face the Aztecs of San Diego State University, who have only lost two games this entire year. The Aztecs were in the conversation for a number one seed in this tournament, but they gave it to Duke… because… they always give it to Duke.
I think the Owls have a chance, but the absence of Michael Eric and Scootie Randall's limited play will catch up to them. It's only a matter of when.