BY MATTHEW NADU, Columnist
Fact: Temple beats St. Bonaventure in Atlantic 10 quarterfinals.
Fact: Villanova loses to Marquette in quarterfinals.
Fact: Owls beat Wildcats.
You don’t have to be Dwight Shrewt of your office to know the Temple Owls (27-5, 15-2) are good. Real good.
So good in fact that the Co-Conference Champions of the A-10 and the number one seed in the conference tournament hammered St. Bonaventure 69-51 Friday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City en route a possible third straight tourney title.
Oh yeah they also won the Big 5 outright and as the #17 ranked team in the country are a lock to their third straight NCAA tournament appearance.
So why is #10 Villanova (24-7) still the toast of the town?
(Don’t let the rankings fool ya, they’ll change before selection Sunday.)
Sure they made it to the Final Four last year. But this is 2010, the year of the Owl.
Yeah Nova’s in the Big Bad East but the A-10 has roided up with three teams locked for the tourney and Rhode Island on the bubble.
With the Wildcats departure from the Big East Tourney on Thursday to Marquette, Philadelphia has been raving about what’s to be expected heading into the Big Dance.
What’s to be expected is a Temple run at the title.
Yes, the Owls are the new boss of the Big 5 and are going to tap their way further in the dance the Nova.
While the Owls won seven straight to end the regular season the Cats lost five of seven.
They look sloppy and are giving up way too many points. A far cry from their top ranking in the polls just a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile the Owls are ranked fifth in the nation allowing only 56.8 points per game.
One of the few outliers in that stat is the 76 points the Cats dropped on the Owls December 13. However the Owls won that contest 75-65 at the Liacourus Center, hardly a home game for the Owls with Nova only a Twoods drive down City Avenue.
Three months ago Nova was Temples best resume win. Who’d of thought heading into the tourney Temple would be a boost to Nova’s bid?
The Owls are currently 62nd in strength of schedule, no thanks to the Wildcats and 15th in RPI. Big points for the committee when the select tournament seeds.
Expect Villanova to snatch a four seed.
If the Owls run the table in AC look for a possible three seed for the new Broad Street Bullies.
So Nova Coach Jay wright has godlike hair and suits Jerry Blavet would kill for.
And so they have guys like Cory Fisher and Scottie Reynolds who are household names.
But the Owls have depth a balance of power and one hell of a All-American mustache on their side.
Blame the success on leading scorer senior Ryan Brooks, All-A-10 teamer junior Lavoy Allen or stud and A-10 Sixth Man of the Year Ramone Moore, either way this is conference coach of the year Fran Dunphys’ team both mentally and physically.
And while John Chaney remains the face of the program, Dunphy (82-48 in four seasons) is quickly adding the dirtstash to that face.
You better believe Philly will represent deep in the dance again the year. This time it will be the Owls continuing an AC hot streak perhaps to another city Final Four appearance.
Not even Chaney could do that.