What Villanova’s Win Means for a Philly Hoops Fan

Former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino (right) with head coach Jay Wright after the Wildcats beat North Carolina in the NCAA championship game.

Former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino (right) with head coach Jay Wright after the Wildcats beat North Carolina in the NCAA championship game.

The very first time I went to the Palestra, I almost got run over by Bill Cosby.

My dad took me to the Atlantic 10 tournament. This was a doubleheader with a TempleSaint Joseph’s game and another quarterfinal. As we went up the walkway toward the gym, an older man was laughing with his friends and clowning around. He crashed into me. It wasn’t a big deal — I wasn’t knocked over or anything — but my dad turned to the guy ask him to knock it off. When he did, he realized it was Cosby.

I guess I eventually got Cosby back for this, but I remember what happened afterward much better: Temple beat Joe’s by 15 points, and I got my first introduction to Big 5 basketball.

That was not my only Atlantic 10 tournament. My dad took me again the very next year. St. Joe’s looked like they were going to lose to Rutgers. They trailed by 13 at one point. But the Hawks rallied and won it on a Bernard Blunt three-point play with just seconds left. I had never heard a louder crowd. Read more »

WATCH: Temple Loses on Last-Second Shot

Temple gave up offensive rebounds all game. One in the final second cost the Owls the game.

Iowa’s Adam Woodbury grabbed an offensive rebound on an airball and tapped it in with no time left to push the Hawkeyes past the Owls, 72-70, in a first-round NCAA tournament game.

Replays showed Woodbury should have been called for a foul — he clearly pushed off before grabbing the rebound. But the referees didn’t call it and now the Owls are going home. Read more »

Temple Rode the Subway to Its NCAA Tournament Game

Temple plays Iowa in the first round of the NCAA tournament today at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Rather than taking a charter bus from the hotel to the arena, coach Fran Dunphy and the Owls rode the New York City subway to the game instead.

The Owls also rode the subway to practice yesterday. “It’s an important part of getting into the flavor of New York City,” Dunphy said yesterday. “Our bus driver took the same route as us and drove into the city, and it took him over an hour. It took us 26 minutes.” Read more »

These Are All the Times Big 5 Teams Squared Off During March Madness

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As you probably know by now, there’s a chance that Villanova and Temple play each other in the second round of the NCAA Tournament this weekend at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

As if the tournament wasn’t wild enough, now two Philly schools could be facing off against one another to not only gain their usual bragging rights but also end one another’s season. This got us thinking: When has this happened before?

In earlier eras of the NCAA Tournament, teams were actually placed in the region that they hailed from geographically. This meant that it was a little more likely that Big 5 schools would play one another. Still, it’s only happened five times in the history of the NCAA Tournament, with all five matchups taking place between 1970 and 1978.

Here’s a look at each of those games: Read more »

The Philly Hoops Fan’s Guide to the NCAA Tournament

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The NCAA tournament is here! Officially called the National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, we shorten it to “NCAA tournament” because that’s much, much easier to say.

The beauty of the NCAA tournament is that literally every team can become your favorite in about an hour or two. At 4:30 you’d just learned of the existence of South Dakota State University, then at 6:30 you’re wearing an official team t-shirt and screaming at the TV for the Jackrabbits (good name!) to beat Maryland.

But it’s also fun to check out the local products — the players and teams and coaches you can root for because they’re from Philly. As is fitting for such a big basketball city, there are a ton of local angles to this year’s tournament. Here’s what you should look out for. Read more »

Inside Higher Ed’s Academic Performance NCAA Bracket Is Out, And …

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From the 2016 Inside Higher Ed academic bracket.

Every year, Inside Higher Ed attempts to counter our nation’s widespread sports insanity by publishing its own version of the NCAA men’s basketball tourney’s brackets, comparing teams according to their work in the classroom as measured by the Academic Progress Rate and, in the case of a tie, the Graduation Success Rate. If two teams still tie, IHE turns to their relative Federal Graduation Rates. (That’s right. There now exist analytics for every goddamn thing.) This year’s academic bracket is out, and … let’s just say IHE doesn’t foresee one shining moment for any of Philly’s teams.

In case you hadn’t heard, Villanova, Temple and St. Joe’s all made the tournament cut. Read more »

Villanova and Temple Could Meet in the NCAA Tournament

Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) dribbles past Temple Owls guard Quenton DeCosey (25) during the first half at Liacouras Center, February 17, 2016.

Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) dribbles past Temple Owls guard Quenton DeCosey (25) during the first half at Liacouras Center, February 17, 2016.

The NCAA tournament selection committee handed Philadelphia basketball fans a present for March Madness: Villanova and Temple could play in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Villanova received the No. 2 seed in the South Region of the NCAA tournament, with the Owls getting the No. 10 seed in the same region. If the Wildcats beat 15th-seeded UNC Asheville (they almost certainly will) and the Owls beat 7th-seeded Iowa (the Hawkeyes have lost 6 of 8), Villanova and Temple will meet in the second round. Both teams play their first games on Friday; the second game would be on Sunday.

Additionally, the Owls-Hawkeyes matchup has an additional Philly connection: Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery is a Philly native who went to La Salle and Penn, was nickanmed “White Magic” and began his coaching career at Lehigh. Though journalists who have been on mock selection committees report it’s too hectic for the people who make the bracket to set up these storylines intentionally, it’s pretty fun when it happens. Read more »

How to Watch Today’s Big 5 Tripleheader on TV Today

St. Joe's DeAndre Bembry (left); Villanova's Josh Hart (right)

St. Joe’s DeAndre Bembry (left); Villanova’s Josh Hart (right)

Philly oldtimers talk about the days of Big 5 double- and tripleheaders: When you’d be able to go to the Palestra and see two or three Philly teams in consecutive games. It’s all part of the mystique of college basketball in this city.

It’s not quite as good, but today there’s a Philly college hoops tripleheader on TV — and you don’t even need to leave your house to see it. Three Big 5 teams that could all make the NCAA tournament are in action in their conference tournaments today. Read more »

Which Philly Schools Will Make It to March Madness?

Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) dribbles past Temple Owls guard Quenton DeCosey (25) during the first half at Liacouras Center on February 17th.

Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) dribbles past Temple Owls guard Quenton DeCosey (25) during the first half at Liacouras Center on February 17th.

If this were any other year, March Madness would already have begun.

Instead, it’s a leap year. We have to wait one more day for March. But it’s a good time to look at the city’s six Division I basketball teams, and what chances they have of making it to the NCAA tournament and beyond. Read more »

Temple Is Playing at Penn State on September 17th This Year

Students in the Temple Owls student section cheer during the fourth quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 5, 2015. Temple defeated Penn State 27-10. Photo | Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Students in the Temple Owls student section cheer during the fourth quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 5, 2015. Temple defeated Penn State 27-10. Photo | Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Temple beat Penn State for the first time since 1941. That’s 74 years! Next season, they’ll travel to Happy Valley to try to make it two in a row. Temple announced that that game will be on September 17th when the team announced its 2016 football schedule.

Temple rallied from a 10-point deficit and ended up beating the Nittany Lions going away, 27-10, at the Linc last season. But winning on the road is a tougher matter altogether: The Owls lost 30-13 the last time they played in State College, and Penn State was 6-1 at home last season. Read more »

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