“All we can do is sit and wait,” said senior guard Shizz Alston Jr. after a tough loss to Wichita State in the AAC quarterfinals. Alston and the rest of the team were sentenced to 48 hours of waiting.
Fortunately for the Owls, good things come to those who wait. On Selection Sunday the Owls were one of the first teams announced when they learned their ticket would be punched to the big dance.
The Owls posted a 23-9 record, finishing third in the American, with impressive wins over Houston and UCF. However, all season long they weren’t able to shake the bubble. It was just four years ago when Temple was snubbed by the committee and rallied for a final four appearance in the 2015 NIT tournament. The next year a 21-12 Temple te
am did qualify for the NCAA tournament only to come up short in a 72-70 OT loss to Iowa. That was the last time Fran Dunphy and this season’s seniors played in the tournament.
“Similar to my freshman year, I wanted it so bad for coach Dunphy and the team,” said Alston. “It was like a dream come true to get in the tournament.”
This marks the second tournament appearance for Alston and Ernest Aflakpui. Fran Dunphy will be coaching in his 17th NCAA tournament appearance. This ties him with former Temple coach, John Chaney, for most tournament appearances by a coach in the Big 5. Dunphy had 9 appearances at Penn and this marks his eighth for the Owls.
While the Owls still have a little work to do before the madness of 64 teams duking it out for a national championship begins, they will be taking on Belmont in the first four round in Dayton, Ohio. This is the first time these schools will compete against each other. Belmont posted a 26-5 record in
the Ohio Valley Conference.
Tip-off is set for 9:10 in Dayton on Tru TV.