Saint Joseph's Hosts Temple with Big 5 Title on the Line

Saint Joseph's Hosts Temple with Big 5 Title on the Line

The Temple University Owls and Saint Joseph's University Hawks have not played a game inside the SJU Fieldhouse since 2001. This will be their first meeting inside the newly refurbished Hagan Arena.

And really, is there any better way for it to happen? By night's end, either one or both of these schools will leaving with the Big 5 Championship.

Tipoff between the (18-11, 8-6) Hawks and (22-5, 11-2) #22/22 Owls is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ESPN U / 610 AM / 1210 AM)

Pre-Gamer, a brief lamentation of round-robin series without tiebreakers, open letters to each student section and make-shift hype packages after the jump…

How We Got Here (Conference Play)
The Owls are the winners of their last 11 games in a row, 10 of which have come in Atlantic 10 play. The streak is the longest by an Owls program since the 1999-2000 season, when a John Chaney Temple team led by senior Pepe Sanchez reached as high as fifth in the nation. Temple is 10-0 since the return of starting center Micheal Eric.

After an absolutely awful patch mid-season that saw SJU lose five of seven games and start just 2-3 in conference, the Hawks have rebounded nicely to 6-3 since. They had won three in a row prior to dropping a game at home to Richmond Wednesday night. At 8-6, the Hawks are one of four eight-win teams in the A-10 -- alongside Xavier, UMass and Bonnies -- vying for a first round-bye in the conference tournament. Should they not lock down an automatic pass to AC, the Hawks will more than likely be hosting a game on its own campus in round one.

How We Got Here (Round-Robin Play)
The Owls have won two of their three Big 5 victories in overtime. The first came on the first night of their season at the Palestra against Penn. The second came just three nights ago inside the Gola against the La Salle. A win would hand Temple its second solo Big 5 Title in the last three seasons. It would be their 26th city title -- the most of any program -- and just their second 4-0 sweep of the Big 5 in 24 years (though that stat is a little misleading for obvious scheduling reasons).

Saint Joseph's started off its Big 5 schedule by kicking the holy hell out of the Villanova Wildcats from inside what appeared to be (we're sorry we couldn't make it) an absolutely rocking Fieldhouse. They then badly outplayed played a La Salle team who somehow managed to take them to the wire at the Palestra just three weeks ago. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they ended up dropping a game to Penn in the middle of their 2-5 January swoon and find themselves 2-1 in round-robin play.

With a win tonight, SJU would secure a share of its first Big 5 championship since Jameer Nelson and Delonte West's perfect regular season of 2004. It would the school's 19th title.

How Is There Not a Tiebreaker?
Really, an extra game is obviously unworkable, but how is a head-to-head tiebreaker not invoked to declare a solo champ each season?

Sure, a win tonight would be special enough for SJU -- for the reasons further outlined below -- but two teams sharing a title at 3-1 is just lame. We also grant, by the way, that Temple's semi-annual playing of both La Salle and St. Joe's would make a head-to-head tiebreaker just a little disingenuous, but it wouldn't make any less sense than the system we have now when one game counts and another doesn't.

Institute a tiebreaker. That is all.

We're Going Streaking
Temple has won its last 10 straight versus Saint Joseph's. That streak is one game shy of the longest streak by either program. SJU had previously won 12 of 13 on two separate streaks of five and seven games before the current trend in Temple's favor. The Hawks have not beaten the Owls since Jan. 26, 2008 at the Apollo, when Pat Calathes nailed a three with 11 seconds remaining, forcing an off-balance something or other by Mark Tyndale that wouldn't fall, resulting 68-67 victory for the St. Joe's.

You Guys Better F@#$ing Bring It Tonight
Dear Saint Joseph's Students,

You went bat-crap crazy insane during the Holy War. You stormed the floor after beating #17/19 Creighton. You haven't played Temple at home since 2001. Temple hasn't won at the Fieldhouse since 1999. Your school deliberately cost itself a larger attendance for this game in an effort to generate the most insane and beneficial atmosphere possible. As a Temple alum -- I am obligated to hate you. As a basketball fan -- I demand you lose your collective *stuff* tonight.

Thanks,
Nick

Dear Temple Students,

You threw a funeral for the Hawk last year. You organized a whiteout against Xavier. You had projectiles not-so-gently lobbed at you at the Gola. You haven't played St. Joseph's at the Fieldhouse since 2001. You haven't won at the Fieldhouse since 1999. Their school deliberately cost itself a larger attendance for this fame in an effort to generate the most insane and beneficial atmosphere possible. You're outnumbered. Sound like you aren't.

Thanks,
Nick

The (Not Free-Throw) Line
Four hours to tip and Temple is a three-point favorite.

Have Fun Tonight You Crazy Kids

Doug Pederson won't commit, leaning towards activating Nelson Agholor

Doug Pederson won't commit, leaning towards activating Nelson Agholor

For whatever reason, Doug Pederson refused to commit to it on Friday morning, but it certainly seems like Nelson Agholor is going to be active this Sunday. 

When asked about Agholor, Pederson cited Jordan Matthews’ ankle injury -- Matthews is questionable heading into the game – as a reason he’s “keeping [Agholor] in the mix.”

Does “in the mix” mean active? 

“Yeah, there’s a good chance,” Pederson said. “I have to find out how Jordan does today and see really. Just getting on Nelson, his mind has been great, his attitude has been really good, he’s been working really hard. So right now, nothing says not keeping him up, keeping him out. Everything is leaning toward keeping him active.”

Agholor was a healthy scratch against the Packers on Monday Night Football after a dreadful performance against Seattle, after which he admitted he was in his own head. All last week, Pederson said it was a possibility he’d keep Agholor down and then he did. Agholor watched from the sideline as the Eagles lost 27-13.  

When pressed on Friday about his failure to commit to playing Agholor, Pederson said he didn’t want to rush into anything, because something unexpected could come up. 

“If I can wait until the last second, I’m going to wait until the last second and just see,” he said.  

On the last question of Friday’s press conference, Pederson seemed to possibly tip his hand. He was asked if there are things he can do as a play-caller, if Agholor plays, to build his confidence, perhaps getting him the ball early in the game. 

“Yeah, there’s always way to do that, obviously, play call, play design, specifically to get him going in the game, could help,” Pederson said. “Get him the ball early. It might just be a screen, just getting him the ball quick, let him get settled into the game. Those are all things I consider, especially putting the openers together, the first 15 (plays), let’s say, focusing on certain guys, wanting to get them touches early. And he’s definitely one of those guys.”

The Eagles have elected to keep just four receivers active on game days all season, while some other teams keep five up. Pederson said the reason for that is special teams. Instead of having a fifth receiver, the Eagles keep up core special teams players like reserve safety Terrence Brooks or reserve corner C.J. Smith. 

With Matthews’ injury and with Agholor’s situation, Pederson might have to consider activating five for the first time this season on Sunday. 

“That’s something, obviously, I have to consider,” Pederson said. “It really depends on today and how well Jordan comes out of today. And see where he’s at. Again, it’s a short week and getting back out there yesterday, (Thursday) was, I don’t want to say it hurt him, it was good to put him out there. The decision could come from how well he does or doesn’t come out of today.”

Connor Barwin and Kurt Vile promote New Year's show in bizarre fashion

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Connor Barwin and Kurt Vile promote New Year's show in bizarre fashion

Kurt Vile and Connor Barwin are both beloved Philly dudes so it made sense when they hooked up a couple of summers ago for the Eagles defender's first MTWB benefit show.

It appears as if the duo have remained tight and they even joined forces again today to help promote Vile's show on New Year's Eve at the Fillmore over in Fishtown.

Let's just say it seems they were trying to be as bizarre as possible on purpose to get some attention.

Mission accomplished.

Kurt Vile, Connor Barwin & Jello Man Telling Jokes

Check out Kurt and his pals Connor Barwin and Jello Man getting amp'd up for the big New Years Eve show in Philadelphia. Still a few tickets left if you haven't gotten yours yet. Catch Kurt Vile & The Violators on Tour in a city near you: Tue-Dec-13 Dallas, TX Trees Wed-Dec-14 Austin, TX KGSR 26th Anniversary @ ACL Live at the Moody Theater Wed- Dec-28 New York, NY Terminal 5 Thu- Dec-29 Boston, MA Royale Fri- Dec-30 Boston, MA The Sinclair Sat- Dec-31 Philadelphia, PA The Fillmore Thu- Jan-26 Charlottesville, VA Jefferson Theater Fri- Jan-27 Saxaphaw, NC Haw River Ballroom Sat- Jan-28 Athens, GA 40 Watt Sun- Jan-29 Charleston, SC Music Farm Mon- Jan-30 Ponte Vedra, FL Ponte Vedra Concert Hall Tue- Jan-31 Orlando, FL Social to Beacham Wed- Feb-01 Ybor City, FL Ritz Ybor Sat- Feb-04 Mexico City, MEX Plaza Condesa February 4-8 Riviera Maya, MX My Morning Jacket's One Big Holiday Wd-Feb-27 Perth, AUS Perth Festival***SOLO*** Tue-Feb-28 Perth, AUS Perth Festival***SOLO*** Fri-Mar-03 Sydney, AUS Taronga Zoo ***SOLO*** Sat-Mar-04 Melbourne, AUS Melbourne Zoo***SOLO*** Thu-Mar-09 Brisbane, AUS Queensland PAC***SOLO*** March 10-12 Golconda, TAS A Festival Called Panama***SOLO*** March 11-13 Meredith, VIC Golden Plains Festival***SOLO*** Co-headline w/ Band of Horses 12/14 Lucy Dacus supporting 12/14 Woods supporting 12/28-31 Nathan Bowles supporting 12/28-31 Luke Roberts supporting 1/26-2/1 2/4-8 w/ My Morning Jacket, Gary Clark Jr., The Head and the Heart, Deer Tick Mick Turner supporting 3/3-9

Posted by Kurt Vile on Friday, December 2, 2016

Here's a fun old video featuring the two hanging before the aforementioned MTWB show: