Note: The following post is by Matt P, Temple University, Class of 2002.
Fran Dunphy’s first season at Temple has been rough at times, with the team currently in 10th place in the A-10, but last night, they did something they hadn’t done since the Liacouras Center was built: broke the century mark. The Owls firebombed St. Bonaventure, 109-70, shooting 65% from the field in the second half after dropping 47 in the first. I’m… I’m just not used to this.
I’m used to seeing TU scrap out single-digit margins of victory or defeat while barely getting to the 60-point mark. According to owlsports, they’ve put up an average of 92.5 ppg in their last four games, losing only the first contest of that stretch. I’m not sure what to expect the rest of the way, with a difficult A-10 (unintentional oxymoron) run ahead and few wins against tough teams to show for this year, but they’ve looked good lately.
The woes this season obviously can’t be pinned on Dunphy; these aren’t his players. Even though John Chaney left him with some true talent on the team, Dunph will need a few recruiting classes before we can start really judging him. One of the Chaney holdovers, Dionte Christmas, blew up again last night, dropping 31 and giving the local media yet another reason to say, “It’s Christmas in [insert month]!”
The good news is, they're only two games out of 5th in the A-10, and streaky teams like this make waves in conference tournaments. Unexpected conference winners with potent offenses shock first-round high-seeds.
And excessive optimism leads to crushing disappointment.