Big 5 Opener: Penn Hosts Temple at the Palestra, Owls' Wyatt to Sit

Big 5 Opener: Penn Hosts Temple at the Palestra, Owls' Wyatt to Sit

Your Penn-Temple preview on the way just as soon as I can wrap my head around being able to watch something on replay at the Palestra...

The University of Pennsylvania Quakers are off to a 1-0 start after a 59-45 victory over the UMBC Retrievers on Friday night. Tonight's match up will be the Quakers' 2011-2012 home opener and the Owls' first game of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m and can be heard 1210 AM.

Matchups:
As discussed in our Big 5 preview from last week, Penn is led by the veteran back court of seniors Zack Rosen and Tyler Bernadini. Spearheading the effort against UMBC, Rosen finished with a game-high 26 points, going 10-16 from the field, 4-5 from three, and chipping in 4 boards, 3 helpers and 3 takeaways. Bernadini, on the other hand, struggled to find his shot. He would finish just 3-10 shooting and 1-6 from behind the arc.

Standing opposed are the Temple University Owls, led by an equally experienced tandem of guards in Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore. With Scootie Randall still recovering from a torn meniscus, the starting five figures to feature Fernandez, Moore, Aaron Brown, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and Michael Eric. Junior guard Khalif Wyatt tweeted earlier this afternoon that he will not be not be playing tonight. An Owlscoop.com source has since confirmed the tweet, breaking the news that Khalif is serving a one-game suspension for a "minor internal matter."

With Wyatt out of the mix and the rest of the guards getting after each other at both ends, look for Temple to try involve center Michael Eric in the offense. Penn doesn't have anyone who can match his height or physical presence, meaning the 6-10 Eric should have a good opportunity to show off all the work he's put in to his offensive game. The same goes for the 6-9 Anthony Lee, who will be playing his first game in a Temple uniform.

Notes:
As an aside, if any of you noticed an irregularity in the Temple starting line-up, junior forward Rahlir Jefferson is, as it reads, no longer Rahlir Jefferson. Instead, he has added his mother's last name to his own, opting to go with the hyphenated approach as a tribute and thank you for all that she has done for him. I remember Rahlir's first game as a Temple Owl in the team's  season opener on the road at Delaware in 2009. When her son came off the bench for his very first taste of college basketball, I had not to that point in my life heard any woman scream that loud for any reason. It's a nice story and a nice touch.

One other change for the Owls, Ramone Moore will no longer be wearing his trademark No. 23. He will now be wearing No. 10 as tribute of his own. Unfortunately, the motivation for the change is a much sadder story. Moore lost his 10-year-old cousin Zaire to a car accident this past Summer. For more on Ramone's relationship to his late, and all-too-young, family member click here.

Players to Watch Tonight:
For Penn, sophomore Miles Cartwright started in 19 games for the Quakers last season as a true freshman. He finished fourth in scoring behind Rosen, Bernadini and the now graduated Jack Eggleston. Along with fellow sophomore and Archbishop Wood product Fran Dougherty, the two figure to be the immediate future of the program once Bernadini and Rosen (finally) finish up their eligibility at year's end.

For Temple, red-shirt freshman Anthony Lee could prove critical to the Owls' success this season. Undersized and inexperienced in the front court, Temple will need the power forward to help fill the void left by Lavoy Allen. Lee figures to split time at the four this season with the 6-6 Jefferson. Their contributions will be key in Temple's quest to win its fourth A10 title in the past five seasons and to move on to the Sweet 16 after breaking through with the program's first NCAA tournament win in ten years last March.

Relevant History:
All-time Series: Temple leads 44-22
At Penn: Temple leads 27-6
Streak: Temple has won last four in a row
Last Meeting: The Owls defeated the Quakers by a final score 73-56 (1/19/11, Liacouras Center). Temple's Khalif Wyatt came off the bench to score a career-high 27 points in the Owls' victory.

See you post-game.

Scoreboard photo courtesy The Pheisty Fans from the Battle of I-95

NHL Notes: Desperate Senators hoping to avoid elimination

NHL Notes: Desperate Senators hoping to avoid elimination

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Guy Boucher has typically kept his team off the ice on off-days during the postseason. Not Monday.

The Ottawa coach opted for a half-hour practice ahead of Game 6 on Tuesday night to help his team "refresh" and "reload" after a 7-0 beating by Pittsburgh, one of the worst losses in team playoff history. Players thought the practice, as well as an encouraging chat beforehand, helped wipe the slate clean as they prepare for an elimination game. The Penguins lead the Eastern Conference final 3-2 and can return to the Stanley Cup Final with a win.

"We can't be sitting in our mud puddle," Boucher told The Canadian Press after practice. "We've got to get up and go."

Reloading against an opponent vying for back-to-back Stanley Cups means reverting back to strengths of the club. In Sunday's blowout loss, Boucher said, he thought his team tried to trade goals with the high-scoring Penguins -- an odd choice for a Senators team that thrives on shutting down opponents.

"If we stay away from our strengths there's no chance," Boucher said on Monday. "We're aware of that. We got slapped -- hard enough. The reality sets back in" (see full story).

NHL: Former All-Star Bill White dies at 77
CHICAGO -- Bill White, a former Chicago Blackhawks all-star defenseman and a member of Canada's 1972 Summit Series team, has died. He was 77.

The Blackhawks announced White's death Monday.

White, a Toronto native, started his career with the Los Angeles Kings in 1967 before being traded to Chicago during the 1969-70 season. He formed an imposing tandem on the Blackhawks' blue line with Pat Stapleton and helped the team reach the playoffs in all seven of his seasons in Chicago.

He appeared in six consecutive All-Star games between 1969 and 1974 and briefly served as head coach of the Blackhawks for the final 46 games of the 1976-77 season.

White finished his career with 50 goals, 215 assists and 495 penalty minutes in 604 NHL games with Los Angeles and Chicago, adding seven goals and 32 assists in 91 playoff appearances.

"The Chicago Blackhawks organization extends its thoughts and heartfelt condolences to Bill White's family as we mourn his loss," the team said. "He will be remembered as a leader, generous teammate and tough player to play against. His energetic style helped the Blackhawks see great success during his tenure with the team."

He joined Canada's squad for the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union after Game 1, finishing with a series-best plus-7 defensive rating while acting as a key part of Canada's penalty-killing unit.

NFL Notes Rams' All-Pro Aaron Donald skips OTAs amid contract talks

NFL Notes Rams' All-Pro Aaron Donald skips OTAs amid contract talks

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald has skipped the Los Angeles Rams' first day of organized team activities while he negotiates a long-term contract extension with the club.

Rams general manager Les Snead says the team knew Donald wouldn't be at their training complex Monday.

Snead acknowledged Donald's absence is because of their contract negotiations, which are reaching "the serious part." The GM is confident Donald will be a long-term fixture on the Rams' line.

The Rams exercised their fifth-year option for 2018 on Donald last month. He will make nearly $7 million next year. Snead has repeatedly said the Rams plan to sign Donald to a long-term deal.

Donald is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro in his three-year career.

Vikings: Zimmer takes time off after latest eye surgery
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer finally relented, taking some time away from the team to allow his right eye a proper recovery from his latest surgery.

Better in the spring than during the fall, he realized.

As Zimmer departed Monday for some rest and relaxation at his vacation ranch in rural Kentucky, general manager Rick Spielman said the organization anticipates a return by Zimmer "in a few weeks." Players will take the field Tuesday for the first of 13 scheduled offseason practices, including the three-day mandatory minicamp that runs June 13-15.

"We all agree Mike's health is the priority, and we believe rest and recovery are in his best interest for the long term," Spielman said.

Zimmer directed a free youth football camp Saturday at team headquarters. He revealed to reporters that he underwent an eighth procedure on the eye last week, a trying seven-month stretch that has included several unplanned operations (see full story).

Jets: Former 2nd-round pick Smith waived
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Wide receiver Devin Smith has been waived from the injury list by the New York Jets.

A second-round draft pick from Ohio State in 2015, Smith rarely saw the field for the Jets. He tore his ACL during the offseason workout program after he appeared in four games last season. He started that season on the physically unable to perform list while rehabbing from another ACL tear suffered in December 2015.

If Smith clears waivers, he would revert to the Jets' injured reserve list.

"It's bad luck and bad timing because the kid worked so hard to get back," coach Todd Bowles said last month during the NFL draft. "He has to persevere and adversity will help him get stronger. But unfortunately in this game, over my course of time playing and coaching, you see these types of things. Some of the best athletes get hurt and don't get a chance to get on the field, and it's just bad timing, bad luck."

The Jets also re-signed wide receiver WR Deshon Foxx on Monday. Foxx originally signed with the Jets in January and was waived May 9. The Connecticut product first signed with Seattle 2015 after going undrafted and was waived/injured with a hamstring injury that August.

Buccaneers: TE Howard signs rookie deal
TAMPA, Fla. -- Tight end O.J. Howard has signed his rookie contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Howard, who was the 19th overall pick in last month's NFL draft, signed a four-year deal on Monday that includes a team option for a fifth season. He is the first of Tampa Bay's six draft picks to sign.

Howard, who is 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds, was a third-team Associated Press All-America selection last season. He started 12 of Alabama's 14 games last season and had 45 receptions for 595 yards and three touchdowns.

The drafting of Howard and signing DeSean Jackson in free agency should give Jameis Winston more options in Tampa Bay's passing game.

The Buccaneers also announced that defensive end Jacquies Smith has signed his restricted free agent tender.