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.
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?

Flyers Notes: Travis Konecny sparks power play with 1st NHL goal

Flyers Notes: Travis Konecny sparks power play with 1st NHL goal

The kid finally has his first NHL goal.

Travis Konecny scored at 4:30 of the third period (see video) during the Flyers' 4-3 shootout win over Buffalo on Tuesday night (see story).  

His was the first of three power-play goals to erase a 3-0 deficit and get the Flyers into overtime.

First markers are always that much more special when they make a difference in a comeback victory, such as this one with the Flyers in a brutal stretch of six games in nine days.

“I am just excited that it happened,” Konecny said. “But the thing for me that was more exciting was coming back after that 3-0 [deficit] and an overall exciting night for us.”

The three power-play goals were a season high for the Flyers.

“We got going those two power plays ... our power plays set a tone,” Konecny said. “When that gets going, it makes it hard for the other team to stop us.

“It’s awesome because we know what they can do [on the top power-play unit]. They have been sticking with it and fighting the puck, whatever it’s been the past couple of games, but you know what they are capable of — you can see it the past couple of years. 

“You knew it was coming and tonight is the perfect night to get it going and I am sure that they are going to keep rolling with it.”

Schultz sits
The decision to sit 15-year veteran blueliner Nick Schultz to get Radko Gudas back into the lineup wasn’t easy but it made sense on several levels. Gudas had been suspended for six games.

First, Schultz doesn’t play on the power play, whereas Andrew MacDonald carries heavy minutes with the power play and penalty kill.

Brandon Manning? Not happening. He’s been the Flyers' best defenseman this season. Mark Streit? Doesn’t work because he quarterbacks the second-unit PP and is essentially teaching that duty to rookie Ivan Provorov.

“It’s real tough,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “It’s part of the business and [Schultz has] done an excellent job. He’s always very well-prepared.

“We talked about what’s best for our team and we feel like Gudy going in, especially on a back-to-back, gives us fresh legs and a fresh body coming back into the lineup.”

Hakstol recently has had to switch around his defensive pairs to get more defensive coverage and consistency on the ice. For instance, moving Provorov from Streit to Manning.

He discounted Schultz’s age (34) as a true factor in the decision.

“I think the more flexibility you have, the better, whether it be for rest or for the injury situations,” Hakstol said. “First and foremost, I think we’re still looking for the true consistency that we need through our entire team, but certainly your D pairs are a big part of that. 

“Before we start getting to a comfort level of guys playing with different people, first we have to find true consistency. We’ve been pretty good, but we’ve had stretches where the consistency needs to improve, as well.”

Give and Go: Predicting Sixers' MVP, win total and more for 2016-17

Give and Go: Predicting Sixers' MVP, win total and more for 2016-17

The Sixers officially get back to work Wednesday night in their regular-season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder (see game notes).

Before tip-off, CSNPhilly.com Sixers insider Jessica Camerato and CSNPhilly.com producers/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick run the Give and Go to break down some burning questions surrounding the team.

What is the one stat that will most define the Sixers' season?


The Sixers want to build a defensive identity and understandably so — they ranked last in the league in rebounds with a minus-518 differential and were outscored by 10.2 points per game, also last in the NBA. That being said, I am looking at turnovers this season. Last season, the Sixers were prone to throwing away points with errors. They ranked 29th (second to the Suns) with 16.6 turnovers per game. The team is down two ball handlers in Jerryd Bayless and Ben Simmons (both injured), which heightens the challenge. In order for the Sixers to get into any type of rhythm and build an offensive flow, they have to actually maintain possession.

It's got to be defense.

Brett Brown is banking on Joel Embiid being the centerpiece to the team's defense, and he better be for the head coach's sake. Embiid also better get some help from the guys around him on that end of the floor or it will be another year-long parade of bad rotations, easy buckets at the rim and wide-open jumpers. In Brown's three years as Sixers head coach, the team has ranked 29th, 20th and 30th in opponents' points per game. That has to change if the Sixers want to take the next step in their rebuild.

With an abundance of big men and Simmons eventually taking the court as the team's main facilitator, the Sixers need players that can shoot. Last season, they took the eighth-most three-point attempts in the NBA while finishing 24th in three-point percentage. That second number has to go up if the Sixers ever want to create floor space.

Who will be the Sixers' MVP?


The towering 7-foot-2 presence is going to be the dominating force on both ends. Brown intends for Embiid to become the “crown jewel” of the defense and the offense to go through Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, whose role is restricted (knee). Embiid has shown in a small sampling of preseason games he is capable of leading the team on all sides of the floor.

Of course the answer is Embiid, but let's go another route and say Brown.

The coach got an extension last season and also received a boost in roster talent. Now he just has to figure out how the pieces fit together. That didn't go so well with Okafor and Nerlens Noel a season ago, but playing those two together was essentially the only intriguing thing about the Sixers in 2015-16, which is why Brown stuck with the pairing. With better players to mix and match this time around, I believe Brown will figure out some solid options to have the squad in better position to compete on a nightly basis.

The easy pick is Embiid, but I'm going a little outside the box with Dario Saric.

The 22-year-old Croatian showed off the versatility of his game during the preseason. He's an old school player that excels in the team game. He's what's often referred to as a "glue guy." He has skill, but the skills he lacks he makes up for with grit and basketball savvy.

What is your season projection for the Sixers?

This season was supposed to be a bridge year, the start of rebuilding. That will be delayed until the team is healthy with key players like Simmons, Okafor and Noel back at 100 percent. In the meantime, the Sixers' outlook is better than last season’s 10-win total but less than earlier projections with Simmons in the lineup. Because of injuries, I am shifting their win projection to 19.

The injury bug, starting with No. 1 overall pick, Simmons, has certainly put a damper on the Sixers' projected win total. Las Vegas odds books originally set the mark at 27½, which seemed like a long shot even with a full roster. I say they show strides but fall just shy of doubling last season's win total and finish with 19.

This really depends on the return of Simmons. Simmons will make this team so much better on both ends of the floor. Bayless' absence early will hurt this team as well. And don't forget about all the minutes restrictions. The Sixers are going to struggle early on, but if Simmons returns in January, I think this team can double its win total from last season and win 20 games.