Temple, Dunphy to Renew NCAA Rivalry with Steve Fisher

Temple, Dunphy to Renew NCAA Rivalry with Steve Fisher

Though the history between the universities of Temple and San Diego State is a little thin, tonight's 6:10 tip off on TNT will not be their first meeting. In their one and only contest, a game played on December 30, 1981, the Aztecs defeated the Owls by a final score of 75-64 in an event allegedly called the Cabrillo Classic. Let's call this a "small" sample size.

Nonetheless, there are some cool story lines to follow and reminiscing to be done today. Let's start first with this evening's coaches and then move our way back through the annals of college basketball history to a group of dudes named the Fab Five. We play our version of "This is Your Life" with coaches Fran Dunphy and Steve Fisher after the jump...

Though Temple, as detailed above, lost its one and only meeting with SDSU, Fran Dunphy came out the victor in his single confrontation with Steve Fisher. Then the coach at Penn, Dunphy's Quakers defeated Fisher's #25 Michigan Wolverines 62-60 on December 13, 1994 thanks to a timely assist from current TU assistant coach Shawn Trice and a clutch jumper from the new head man at Penn, Jerome Allen. When told Dunphy mentioned the game to reporters in his Friday press conference, Fisher had some fun of his own with the media. This courtesy of OwlScoop.com's John Di Carlo:

Reporter: Fran was saying you're a better person than you are a coach.
Fisher: Maybe.
(Laughter)
Reporter: He also talked about taking his Penn team and winning at Michigan one time. Can you reminisce about that?
Fisher: He didn't say that, did he? I think the referees cost us the game. 
(More laughter)
I do remember that. I don't remember names, but he had guys who were lights out shooting the ball against us in our building. I congratulated him for winning, took my chin to my chest and walked out. He's exactly right. I wish he hadn't said that, but he's exactly right. 

On the flip side, Fisher's left another Big 5 legend—John Chaney—walking off the floor in defeat on two separate occassions, albeit probably in a manner opposite taking a chin to the chest and leaving in silence. One of those two Temple losses came in the form of a 1993 West Regional showdown between the Owls and Michigan University's Fab Five of Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson.

For those of you who may have missed last Sunday evening's "30 for 30" documentary on the team, keep an eye out for it on replay. The piece was exceptionally well put together, and even if you happen to disagree with Jalen Rose's thoughts on American socioeconomics, you do get a few minutes of Temple playing ball in these fantastic cherry threads. What you won't hear in the doc, however, is this gem from coach Chaney:

At a late juncture, a frustrated Chaney, tired of seeing Chris Webber push Derek Battie around on the blocks without referee intervention, yelled to Battie: “Next time he does that, knock him on his ass!” A technical foul followed that essentially ended whatever suspense remained.

See? The Basketball Hall of Famer was paging Nehemiah Ingram long before the John Bryant incident. No big deal.

Getting back to tonight's game, though San Diego State is the clear favorite, there were some analytic rumblings prior to the tournament in regards to a Sweet 16 appearance for the Cherry & White. But, even as a soon-to-be TU alum, I just don't think the Owls stack up. Still, I'm sure the boys, including the playing-injured Scootie Randall, will give it their all tonight in what could be the last time Lavoy Allen ever dons a Temple jersey.

In closing, while I would traditionally try to come up with some witty play on Juan Fernandez' name, I think those have all been just about exhausted over the last two days. Instead, I'll depart by encouraging you to consider the following investment.

Don't look now folks, but the Temple Owls are the only team from this city left standing. So much for that preseason top-10, eh Jay?

Report: P.J. Carlesimo won't join Sixers' coaching staff

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Report: P.J. Carlesimo won't join Sixers' coaching staff

It doesn't sound like the Sixers' replacement for Mike D'Antoni will be the most rumored name for the position.

NBA coaching veteran P.J. Carlesimo has decided to not join Brett Brown's staff as associate head coach and instead will remain a television analyst, according to tweets Sunday night by ESPN's Mark Stein.

Stein added that Carlesimo made the decision for family reasons.

The 67-year-old Carlesimo has spent parts of nine seasons as a head coach in the league and five more as an assistant. He was last on a NBA bench when he took over as the Brooklyn Nets' interim head coach in 2012-13.

So the Sixers still have a vacancy on their bench after D'Antoni, who joined the Sixers in the middle of last season after Jerry Colangelo joined the organization, signed on to become head coach of the Houston Rockets last week. Who the team's next choice for the role is remains to be seen.

Stanley Cup Final: Long roads culminate for both Sharks and Penguins

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Stanley Cup Final: Long roads culminate for both Sharks and Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't supposed to take the San Jose Sharks this long to reach their first Stanley Cup Final. It wasn't supposed to take this long for Sidney Crosby to guide the Pittsburgh Penguins back to a destination many figured they'd become a fixture at after winning it all in 2009.

Not that either side is complaining.

Certainly not the Sharks, whose nearly quarter-century wait to play on the NHL's biggest stage will finally end Monday night when the puck drops for Game 1. Certainly not Crosby, who raised the Cup after beating Detroit seven years ago but has spent a significant portion of the interim dealing with concussions that threatened to derail his career and fending off criticism as the thoughtful captain of a team whose explosiveness during the regular season too often failed to translate into regular mid-June parade through the heart of the city.

Maybe the Penguins should have returned to the Cup Final before now. The fact they didn't makes the bumpy path the franchise and its superstar captain took to get here seem worth it.

"I think I appreciated it prior to going through some of those things," Crosby said. "I think now having gone through those things I definitely appreciate it more. I think I realize how tough it is to get to this point."

It's a sentiment not lost on the Sharks, who became one of the NHL's most consistent winners shortly after coming into the league in 1991. Yet spring after spring, optimism would morph into disappointment. The nadir came in 2014, when a 3-0 lead over Los Angeles in the first round somehow turned into a 4-3 loss. The collapse sent the Sharks into a spiral that took a full year to recover from, one that in some ways sowed the seeds for a breakthrough more than two decades in the making.

General manager Doug Wilson tweaked the roster around fixtures Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, who remained hopeful San Jose's window for success hadn't shut completely even as the postseason meltdowns piled up.

"I always believed that next year was going to be the year, I really did," Thornton said. "I always thought we were a couple pieces away. Even last year not making the playoffs, I honestly thought we were a couple pieces away, and here we are."

The Penguins, like the Sharks, are a study in near instant alchemy. General manager Jim Rutherford rebuilt the team on the fly after taking over in June, 2014 and with the team sleepwalking last December, fired respected-but-hardly-charismatic Mike Johnston and replaced him with the decidedly harder-edged Mike Sullivan. The results were nearly instantaneous.

Freed to play to its strengths instead of guarding against its weaknesses, Pittsburgh rocketed through the second half of the season and showed the resilience it has sometimes lacked during Crosby's tenure by rallying from a 3-2 deficit against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals, dominating Games 6 and 7 to finally earn a shot at bookending the Cup that was supposed to give birth to a dynasty but instead led to years of frustration.

True catharsis for one side is four wins away. Some things to look for over the next two weeks of what promises to be an entertaining final.

Fresh faces
When the season began, Matt Murray was in the minor leagues. Now the 22-year-old who was supposed to be Pittsburgh's goalie of the future is now very much the goalie of the present. Pressed into action when veteran Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion on March 31, Murray held onto the job even after Fleury returned by playing with the steady hand of a guy in his 10th postseason, not his first. San Jose counterpart Martin Jones served as Jonathan Quick's backup when the Kings won it all in 2014 and has thrived while playing behind a defense that sometimes doesn't give him much to do. Jones has faced over 30 shots just four times during the playoffs.

"HBK" is H-O-T:
Pittsburgh's best line during the playoffs isn't the one centered by Crosby or Malkin but Nick Bonino, who has teamed with Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin to produce 17 goals and 28 assists in 18 games. Put together when Malkin missed six weeks with an elbow injury, the trio has given the Penguins the balance they desperately needed after years of being too reliant on their stars for production.

Powerful Sharks
San Jose's brilliant run to the Finals has been spearheaded by a power play that is converting on 27 percent (17 of 63) of its chances during the playoffs. The Sharks are 9-2 when they score with the man advantage and just 3-4 when it does not.

Old men and the C(up)
Both teams have relied heavily on players who began their NHL careers in another millennium. Pittsburgh center Matt Cullen, who turns 40 in November, has four goals during the playoffs. Thornton and Marleau, both 36, were taken with the top two picks in the 1997 draft that was held in Pittsburgh while 37-year-old Dainius Zubrus draws stares from younger teammates when he tells them he used to play against Hall of Famer (and current Penguins owner) Mario Lemieux.

"When I say 'Twenty years ago I was playing against Lemieux, they say 'I was 2-years-old,'" Zubrus said.

NBA Notes: Grizzlies hire Heat assistant David Fizdale as head coach

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NBA Notes: Grizzlies hire Heat assistant David Fizdale as head coach

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Grizzlies have hired David Fizdale as their new coach and will introduce him in Memphis at a news conference Tuesday.

Memphis announced the move Sunday. The hiring was first reported Thursday by The Associated Press and others. The Grizzlies did not disclose terms, but Yahoo! Sports reported Fizdale agreed to a four-year contract.

General manager Chris Wallace said in a statement that the Grizzlies are confident Fizdale is the right person to help Memphis build on its success.

Fizdale has spent the past eight years with the Miami Heat, the past two as assistant head coach to Erik Spoelstra.

The new Grizzlies coach says he feels fortunate to have worked with some of the NBA's greatest coaches and players and believes he's ready for the challenge of being a head coach (see full story).

Antetokounmpo brothers combine for 133 points in charity game vs. Porzingis
ATHENS, Greece -- NBA stars Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks battled it out in Athens in a game of streetball Sunday, watched by a crowd of 5,000.

Played in an open court in Greece's largest public high school, the "Antetokounbros Streetball Event" ended 123-123. No overtime was played.

Porzingis scored 21 points but was overshadowed by team member Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis' older brother, who scored 69. The two had played for a few games together last season, when Thanasis was signed by the Knicks on a 10-day contract. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the other team with 64 points. The other players were a mixture of veteran pros and amateurs.

On Saturday, Porzingis and the Antetonkoumpo brothers were given a private tour of the Acropolis Museum (see full story).