Coming off of a regular season that saw Temple come up short in their goal of getting an NCAA tournament birth, they look to finish off their season with some meaning. After receiving an invitation to the NIT tournament, the 5th seeded Owls look to focus their efforts on their first round matchup against 4th seeded Penn State University.
Following a loss in the second round of the American Athletic Conference tournament against Wichita State, the Owls (17 – 19), travel to Happy Valley with a resume that saw them defeat strong NCAA tournament teams Clemson, Auburn, and Wichita State including a tough three point loss to Houston. Leading scorers, Sophomore Quinten Rose (15.1ppg), Junior Shizz Alston Jr. (13.2ppg), and Senior Obi Enechionyia (10.9ppg) look to continue their season with an upset to start off their tournament play. The Nittany Lions play host following a strong regular season that saw them finish (21 – 13).
Playing in the grueling Big 10 conference, they performed better than expected in the preseason completing 9 wins against conference opponents. Those include three over NCAA tournament team Ohio State thanks to strong efforts from their sophmore star Tony Carr. The First-Team All Big 10 Guard will be a tough task for the Owls to contain with rumblings of him being on multiple NBA radars. With season averages of (19.9 ppg) and (4.7 assists), Temple will look to lock in on him and disrupt Penn State’s core that includes both Philadelphia natives Sophomore Lamar Stevens (14.9 ppg) and Senior Shep Garner (11.1 ppg).
This is the first time the Owls have competed in the NIT tournament since the 2014 – 2015 NCAA season where they lost in the Semifinals to a University of Miami team 60 – 57.
Although an NCAA tournament appearance was the ultimate goal from the beginning of their season, Coach Dunphy looks to lead his team to an NIT championship that has only been won twice in their programs storied history, with their last coming in 1968.
Temple last played Penn State in the 2011 NCAA tournament, where the owls advanced to the next round defeating them 66-64.
Temple dominates the series between both programs with 60 wins to the Nittany Lions 32.
Action will be broadcasted at 8pm on ESPNU.