NASHVILLE -- Its impossible not to look at this as Temples first Big East Conference game.
Two years before the real thing.
Temple, which will join the Big East for football next year and for basketball and all other sports in 2013, will face a Big East team on Friday night in the NCAA Midwest Regionals. The Owls and South Florida Bulls meet at 9:50 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena.
The Owls beat Villanova this season and beat Seton Hall and Georgetown and lost to Villanova last year. In 2010, Temple split four Big East games, beating Villanova and Seton Hall and losing to St. Johns and Georgetown.
I'm really excited to bring teams like Temple, Memphis, Houston, SMU and UCF (into the Big East), USF coach Stan Heath said Thursday. Especially when you look at Temple -- and that doesn't mean anything against the other guys -- but their history and tradition really adds a lot to our league, especially in the future when we're losing some very good basketball teams as well.
Asked whether Fridays NCAA game could serve as an introduction for Temple into the Big East, Heath said: They won't need any introduction. They play on a national scale. They beat Duke this year. So they don't need an introduction. They're going to be fine. They're a great program, and they'll fit in extremely well with the Big East.
Dunphy said there are so many unknowns right now its impossible to say whether the move will be a good one for the basketball team.
It's very interesting, obviously, Dunphy said. This is all predicated on football. It's been football driven. Obviously we would like to have all of your sports under one roof and we're going to do that in another year. It's what has happened to college athletics.
My opinion is -- is it going to be good? I don't know that. Again, I don't have that crystal ball, but I hope it's good for Temple University, and the Big East certainly has a terrific brand.
There is some bittersweet in it for us that we've been members of a terrific conference, the Atlantic 10, for all of these years, loved every minute of it, and now we're going into another conference and building new relationships, new rivalries, those kinds of things.
It's not easy, but it is what colleges and universities are doing these days, and Temple is very much a part of it.
So we're excited about our new opportunity but very grateful for where we have been for the last 30 years.
Anderson nearly went to Temple
South Florida starting forward Ron Anderson, son of former Sixer Ron Anderson, transferred out of Kansas State after his freshman year, he considered a handful of schools and then narrowed it down to two.
It came down to Temple and South Florida, he said. Obviously, I chose South Florida. I know the coaching staff at Temple. I have a lot of respect for them. I love everything about Temple. And Ramone Moore is a great player, and he actually hosted me on my visit. So I have a history with Temple. I know they're going to come out ready to play, and I know their coach wouldn't have it any other way.
Temple must take smart shots
Dunphy said that against a team like USF, which is 11th in Division I defending the three-pointer, its crucial that the Owls really work to get the ball inside.
Temple is seventh in the country shooting the three at 40.2 percent, but against a team like USF, the Owls may limit their long-range attempts.
We always try to go inside, Dunphy said. I think most coaches will put on the blackboard before the game, Let's go inside and out, and if the defense collapses, we're going to kick it back out and you're going to re-post and maybe we'll get some decent looks.
We'll try to do that and we'll see how successful we are. Are we turning it over? That's not a good formula. If we have to settle for open jump shots and that's what it takes, then we hope we make our share of them.
We cannot let teams go on runs and get that momentum. The formula that we would like to pursue here is let's get good shots. Sometimes they're going to be on the perimeter, sometimes they're going to be inside, but if we get good shots, we'll be OK.
By the Numbers
Some interesting numbers going into Friday night:
Temple is 14-6 in road and neutral games, and USF is 7-11.
Temple is 8-1 in games decided by five or fewer points, and USF is 5-5.
Temple was 2-0 this year against teams ranked in the top 25, and USF was 1-4.
Temple is 5-0 in overtime, and USF was 0-2.
Temple has won 31 NCAA tournament games. USF has won one.