Temple-Buffalo: Kanye Edition

Temple-Buffalo: Kanye Edition

Doesn't it feel good to be discussing Temple football and actually focusing on football?

Saturday afternoon is homecoming for the university, with the Owls (4-2, 2-1) set to play host to the Buffalo Bulls (2-4, 1-1). The game will be broadcast live on the All-MACcess web stream as well as on OwlSports.com. As always, it can be heard on the radio on 1210 AM.

Fortunately, there won't be any tirades in today's gamer about attendance or conference realignment or anything else (though we will take this opportunity to remind you that you can purchase tickets to any two remaining Temple home games for just $24!), we'll just talk some football and go over some gambling lines and...

Alright, alright, I've got a Big East update at the bottom (and it isn't great news for Temple).

Oh, and I'll also show you one of the strangest grammatically correct sentences in the English language. I'll give you a hint: it has to do with Buffalo.

Story
Temple is coming off what should have been a confidence-boosting 42-0 shutout of the Ball State Cardinals last week. The team just needs to to make sure that the boost in confidence isn't accompanied by a spike in hubris. Though they've been excellent front-runners in 2011, the Owls have yet to show they can win a tight football game.

"We've seen what can happen, not being on our A-game," said Addazio earlier this week. "We've seen that. We still haven't proved that we can come from behind yet."

As such, the Owls will benefit from a certain sense of humility against all their MAC opponents. After all, a 42-0 win doesn't mean much if you can't follow it up with another impressive showing. It's a lesson the team learned after the Maryland game, and hopefully one it will remember against Buffalo. They might be getting better, but they aren't good enough to start overlooking anyone yet.

Lines
After some odds talk in the comments a week or two back, I mentioned that I'd have to do a better job in the future remembering to post the lines each week. Well, here we are.

The Owls are favored favored by 3 touchdowns and 3 more extra points against the Bulls at -21. O/U is set at 47. Do both of these seem heavily influenced by the Ball State result last week? Proceed as you will.

The Buffalo Sentence
Alright, now I kid you not, the following, despite its lack of punctuation, is actually a grammatically correct sentence in the English language:

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."

The sentence makes use of all three forms of the word "buffalo"—the city, the animal and the verb.

It's about buffalo from Buffalo, who are buffaloed by some other Buffalo buffaloes, buffaloing some other buffalo. Read more on the buffaloing Buffalo buffaloes here.

Other Football-Related Notes
--After his fourth three-touchdown performance of the year last week, Bernard Pierce has officially passed Paul Palmer to become the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns scored by a Temple Owl. He currently leads the nation in TDs with 15.

--Third-string running Myron Myles is no longer a member of the football team, following a "verbal altercation" with a member of the coaching staff. From head coach Steve Addazio:

"He decided to pursue options elsewhere and we wish him all the best."

--Center John Palumbo, who missed last week's game against Ball State, is expected to return against to action this week against the Bulls.

--We'll update if we hear anything pursuant to the on-going Temple/Villanova/Big East situation, though we can tell you that things have apparently taken a turn for the worse from the Temple perspective over the last 24 hours. Multiple outlets are reporting that the Big East is moving ahead without the Owls in any capacity, thanks in large part to Villanova's opposition. The Inquirer's Mike Jensen, who's just been killing it with updates all week, has another great read on the increasingly strained relationship between the two universities, which you can find by clicking here. Though the news is far from good, we'll note that considering Boise State and Navy's hesitation in joining the conference, it isn't totally over for Temple just yet—one way or the other. Let's just conclude that things are looking markedly worse than, say, Thursday.

See you post-game.

In 1st game post-Ersan Ilyasova, Dario Saric shines as Sixers' starting PF

In 1st game post-Ersan Ilyasova, Dario Saric shines as Sixers' starting PF

When Ersan Ilyasova was traded to the Hawks on Wednesday, it became Dario Saric's time to shine.

And shine he did in the Sixers' 120-112 win over the Wizards Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. In the first game coming off the All-Star break, Saric got the starting nod at power forward. He certainly looked the part, posting 20 points (10 of 19 from the field), 11 rebounds and four assists.

Saric, now the only true four on the roster, was proud of his team's performance against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

"We have a lot of veterans who can share the ball and that's how you're supposed to play," Saric said. "For me I'm not surprised if we [beat the third-best team] in the East, but I believe these guys can play very good basketball."

Saric was excellent in the starting role, but his exceptional play dates back before the All-Star break. Including Friday, he's averaged 20.5 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 assists over his last six games. The Sixers are 4-2 in that span.

Head coach Brett Brown is seeing what he expected to see from the Croatian rookie.

"He's a professional basketball player," Brown said. "He has been that for a while. His love of the game, his passion for the game is contagious. It's a thing that we loved maybe more than anything about him when we did the deal with Orlando, knowing however many years ago with the trade with Elfrid Payton and Saric. That was a calculated move."

Saric played almost 33 minutes Friday night. So what did Brown do to give Saric a breather? He sent out Robert Covington.

Covington has played the position most of his life but has spent his entire Sixers career on the wing. In a time of need, he stepped up for a team still adjusting to roster changes.

The 6-foot-8 Covington held his own against the likes of Philly native Markieff Morris. It didn't seem to faze his offensive game, either. Covington scored 25 points on 9 of 14 from the field (5 of 9 from three). He also added 11 rebounds and three assists.

Covington has also been a catalyst for the Sixers during their recent success. He's averaging 17.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 steals in his last six. He's also shot a ridiculous 46 percent from three (19 of 41) in that span.

"We can only control what we're able to control on the court," Covington said. "Everything outside of what they do in management doesn't include us. We can only focus on what we can control on the court, and that's what our main focus was on these last few days."

Saric continues to show that he was worth wait while Covington continues to prove that he's a keeper.

They've certainly had different paths. Saric was a lottery pick and regarded as one the top young players in Europe. Covington went undrafted out of Tennessee State and spent the 2013-14 primarily with the Rockets' D-League affiliate.

Bryan Colangelo has identified Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as the team's "transformational players." That's likely true, but every NBA team needs guys like Saric and Covington to complement their stars.

Covington is impressed with the progress of Saric in his rookie season.

"Dario's a very special player," Covington said. "He's able to do so much on the court. Tonight, you saw every aspect of his game. He'll guard, defending, rebounding and making plays on the offensive game. That's what Dario does. Now that he's going to play more in the starting lineup, it's really going to help him."

Saric may be the frontrunner to take home the Rookie of the Month for February. He's second only to Joel Embiid in double-doubles (seven) and 20-point games (six) among rookies. Whether it's Saric or Embiid, it appears the Rookie of the Year will be a Sixer.

His promotion to the starting lineup and wins against teams like the Wizards should only help Saric's cause.

"Maybe you see [me start consistently], maybe not," Saric said. "The game first time here I try to find myself. I got a couple rebounds, but still I try to find myself with the new role. I've tried to move around, catch the rhythm of the game, that's the most important thing in basketball."

He appeared to find himself just fine Friday night.

For Shayne Gostisbehere, Dave Hakstol, Stadium Series brings back cherished memories

For Shayne Gostisbehere, Dave Hakstol, Stadium Series brings back cherished memories

PITTSBURGH -- For Flyers coach Dave Hakstol and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, tonight’s Stadium Series game between the Flyers and Penguins brings back memories.
 
Hakstol coached North Dakota in an outdoor hockey in college, while Gostisbehere participated in one as a freshman at Union College.
 
For Hakstol, however, this whole idea of outdoor hockey began when he was growing up in central Alberta in the small town of Drayton Valley.
 
“I think everybody’s got great memories of growing up outdoors,” Hakstol said. “We had a back creek that we could shovel off. I’m sure everybody could sit back and tell you stories of playing on the outdoor rinks.
 
“For me, most recently, I’ve got two kids growing up playing on outdoor rinks, backyard rinks. It’s pretty cool. It takes you right back to the heart of the game.”
 
Hakstol’s outdoor coaching experience came during a game between Nebraska-Omaha and his North Dakota squad in 2013 at the “Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice.”
 
“I don’t know how to describe it,” Hakstol said of the event. “It’s just a different feel. It’s an ideal scenario.”
 
He said while tonight's game is special, it’s still about the points, first and foremost.
 
“You are cognizant of everything that surrounds the event and the game,” Hakstol said. “Yet for us, it’s two points. We’re fighting for every point here. That is going to paramount.”

Gostisbehere played at Fenway Park in 2012 for Union in a game against Harvard. That night, Union won, 2-0, to become the first ECAC club to ever win outdoors.
 
“I played at Fenway Park against Harvard and it was fun,” Gostisbehere said. “That was my freshman year and the only one I ever played in.
 
“Good crowd. It wasn’t packed obviously, but it was a night game. The ice was really good. It was really cold, too. It was pretty cool.”
 
As warm as it was Friday here -- a historic 78 degrees -- temperatures will begin in the 40s tonight at Heinz Field and then drop. It rained this morning but has since ceased.
 
“The biggest thing for me was to take a second, look around,” Gostisbehere said, admitting he failed to do that in college and won’t make that mistake again.
 
“Just cherish it a little bit. You are so focused on the game, it’s tough. That was biggest thing for me. It was such a blur. Just being in college and having the opportunity to play at Fenway Park was pretty awesome.”

This will the Flyers first-ever outdoor affair in Pittsburgh.
 
“It’s pretty exciting and I’m glad to be part of it,” Gostisbehere said.