Yahoo!'s Tim Brando has an interview up with Temple coach Fran Dunphy. Dunph has been making the media rounds recently in an effort to get the word out about his team and their tip-off against UPENN on Nov. 14.
As Brando and Dunphy both remarked, it's great just to be talking basketball in light of fatiguing mess that has become college football. That sentiment would nonetheless prove unable to distract the two from discussing Temple's place in the landscape moving forward.
Frankly, for all the tight-lipped responses that have accompanied any suggestion of a transfer, it's refreshing to hear Dunphy speak so candidly about what great candidate Temple is for any number of conferences and how football has hijacked the whole of college athletics. Yes, Temple does take pride in both the MAC and A10, but as Dunphy put it, "When those BCS conferences come calling, you have to listen."
The coach also reveals last year's A10 Sixth Man of the Year Khalif Wyatt is currently projected to fill the vacant starting spot left by the injured Scootie Randall. Dunphy believes Scootie is working hard to recover from his knee injury, but sounds rather anxious to get him back, both for his leadership and his defense.
Indeed, for a coach who places such a priority on the defensive end, Dunphy sounds a bit concerned about his team's play on their own side of the timeline. That said, the Owls are without their best defender from the last four years in Lavoy Allen, their best current defender in Randall, and their starting point guard in Juan Fernandez, who has been away from the team while participating in the Pan-Am games.
Click the link below to hear the full interview. 13 more days until Big 5 tip-off. Get hype.
>>Fran Dunphy—Can't Allow Conference Realignment to Distract College Basketball [Yahoo!]
The Sixers will get Joel Embiid back in the lineup when they meet the Bucks on Monday afternoon in Milwaukee, but they'll be without their starting point guard.
T.J. McConnell will miss Monday's game with a sprained right wrist suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Wizards in D.C.
McConnell reportedly did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and is back home in Philadelphia.
The 24-year-old McConnell has been a presence this season for a Sixers team that desperately needed something from the point guard spot. In 38 games this season, McConnell has averaged 4.8 points, 5.8 points and 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists a night in an average of 22.3 minutes a game.
The highlight of McConnell's season, of course, came last week when he nailed the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 98-97 victory over the Knicks.
Sergio Rodriguez is expected to start in McConnell's place Monday against the Bucks.
Traveling to Milwaukee means a return to where Ersan Ilyasova began his NBA career.
Twelve years later, it also means a return to his family when the Sixers visit the Bucks on Monday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
Ilyasova planted roots in Milwaukee during his seven seasons with the Bucks, who drafted him in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft. Though he has played for four teams since the Bucks traded him to the Pistons in the summer of 2015, Ilyasova has maintained a home base in the city he adopted after coming to the NBA from Europe.
“I kind of grew up there,” he said. “It’s a lot of time spent.”
Ilyasova’s lengthy tenure with his first team - which doesn’t always happen in the NBA - afforded him and his family the time to make Milwaukee their home.
His wife and three young children (daughters ages eight and five years old and son age three years old) have remained there while Ilyasova has moved around the league frequently. He has been a member of the Pistons, Magic, Thunder and Sixers in a matter of two seasons.
“It’s a huge thing,” Ilyasova said. “I haven’t seen the girls for two months now - a lot of Skype and FaceTime. I see my son, he flies back and forth with my wife.”
The Sixers flew to Milwaukee on Sunday from Washington, D.C. after Saturday night's loss to the Wizards at the Verizon Center. Ilyasova planned to stay at his house and catch up on the time he has missed while being away from his family. This includes missed time during the holidays while the team was on a west coast road trip.
“It’s always really exciting,” Ilyasova said. “They’re counting the days when I will come. They’re all excited to come to the game.”
Another highlight of being back in Milwaukee? A home-cooked meal.
“They’re already preparing it,” Ilyasova said. “It’s duck with apples in it.”