Why Can’t Temple Win During March Madness?

Plus: a new fight song for NCAA championship season.

Full disclosure: For some unfathomable reason, though a lifelong Philadelphian, I am a diehard fan of perennial losers such as the (L.A.) Rams, the Chicago White Sox, and the Los Angeles Kings. I don’t know why. Who can explain these things? As a 10-year-old kid you are awed by the Fearsome Foursome. You get a kick out of Bill Veeck’s vintage softball unis, and you root for Gretzky to save hockey in So Cal. Those were choices, and not very smart ones at that. But my other longtime rooting interest was thrust upon me as the third son in a middle-class family in Northeast Philly.

I went to Temple.

Graduated in 1980. Agonized as Wayne Hardin’s teams just missed out on beating JoePa; then after a good run under Bruce Arians, entered the desert for a disastrous two-decade doormat run. Things are looking up, though, on the gridiron.

And now to basketball, where I never thought as a Temple fan I would endure more misery then losing five Final Eight (Regional Final) games under John Chaney. The loss to Duke in 1988 was tough, and an undermanned #10 seed Temple team threw a big scare into #1 seed North Carolina before losing, 75-72, in 1992.

You see, with those defeats, while you felt terrible and empty, you were also drained, mentally exhausted after an exhilarating three-game run got you to within one game of the most alliterative holy grail in sports: the Final Four.

You were, while despondent, still proud to be a Temple graduate.

So much for the good old days.

We all know the school’s catchy fight song, right?

“T for Temple U, University
Fight, fight, fight
For the cherry and the white,
For the cherry and the white,
We’ll fight, fight, fight!”

Well, after one, repeat, one tournament win in the last 11 seasons, including 1-5 under current Coach Fran “one and” Dunphy, here is the unofficial Temple NCAA tournament fight song:

“T for time to lose,
Lose quite ea-si-ly.
Right, right, right
Gotta book an early flight
For the cherry and the white
Good night, night, night!”

Come on. You’re a five seed, ranked #21 in the nation, and you lose 58-44 to #12 seed USF? 44 points? Hard to believe we lost that game, with that torrid one-point-a-minute pace we set.

Why the hell can’t we win a single game in this tournament anymore? One win in the last 11 seasons, and that was a 66-64 squeaker over that b-ball powerhouse, Penn State. Look, as a loyal Big Five guy—except, of course, for Villanova, nobody outside that campus roots for Villanova—I know many of you La Salle, Penn and even St. Joe alumni think we should be grateful for our roundball station in life, but this is embarrassing. Enough with the playing well in November, January and February, Fran.

Let’s try winning a couple in March.