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The Liacouras Center, Philadelphia, PA
The Temple Owls Men’s Basketball team is one of the most successful programs in the history of college athletics. In addition to winning the inaugural NIT tournament in 1938, the Owls, who first put a team on the court in 1895, were the sixth team in the nation to win 1,800 games, following renowned basketball brands Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke and Syracuse.
The Legend of Chaney
Playing their basketball in hoops-mad Philadelphia, the Temple Owls have long-established rivalries with the other members of the so-called Big 5: St. Joseph’s, LaSalle, Villanova and Penn. While Philadelphia-dominance has always been a priority, from 1984 to 2001, the Temple Owls were as feared a basketball team as any team in the nation. During that 17-year span, led by the incomparable, Hall of Fame head coach John Chaney, the Owls made it to the NCAA Tournament every year except one. Under Chaney, the Owls won 741 games. He was named National Coach of the Year in 1988 and took his team to the Elite Eight five different times.
In 1988, the Owls were a dominant squad, ranked #1 in the country for much of the season and one of the favorites to win the National Championship. Led by Tim Perry and Mark Macon, the team went 32-2 but eventually lost to Duke University in the NCAA Tournament.
A New Era Begins
Under Coach Fran Dunphy, the Temple Owls have played in six consecutive NCAA tournaments and were a perennial power in the Atlantic 10 Conference. In 2013, the Owls move to the newly formed American Athletic Conference where they’ll compete with the likes of the defending National Champion Louisville, UConn Huskies and Cincinnati Bearcats.
Though the Temple Owls will have to replace star Khalif Wyatt and most of the production from a tournament team in 2012-13, Fran Dunphy is clearly one of the best coaches in the NCAA. With a slew of incoming talent and returning sensation Anthony Lee leading the way, the Owls are reloaded for their first year in the brand new American Athletic Conference.
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