Temple Basketball: The Owls Are Finding Their Groove

Manny GeraldoCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 10:  (L-R) Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson #32, Ramone Moore #10 and Khalif Wyatt #1 of the Temple Owls celebrate a play against the Villanova Wildcats at the Liacouras Center on December 10, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

After two early losses in conference play to Dayton and Richmond, Temple seems to be finding its groove at just the right time. The Owls are owners of a five-game win streak, including a 13-point victory over ACC opponent Maryland. It's important for teams to play well before the madness of March arrives. No team wants to enter their conference tournament still searching for the recipe to win.

Though the Owls are a true definition of a team that plays "team ball," their current streak owes much to the great play of guards Ramone Moore and Khalif Wyatt. The two guards have stepped up tremendously this season and play very well together. The Moore-Wyatt duo is averaging over 33 points per game, and with Juan Fernandez (11.8 PPG and 4.1 APG) the Owls feature a deadly backcourt trio. 

The Owls are only going to get better with the return of center Michael Eric from a patella injury. Freshman Anthony Lee has played valiantly in Eric's absence, but Eric's size and rebounding have been missed. As Eric's minutes increase, Lee and Eric will become a formidable frontcourt tandem.

With nine games remaining, Temple needs to win at least six to lock up a NCAA tournament bid. With 22 wins, upsets over Duke and Villanova and the nation's 13th best RPI, the Owls should be assured a berth. Six more wins would also ensure that Temple secures a high seeding in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, where the Owls have dominated as of late, winning three of the last four championships.

The A-10 is wide open as of now, with La Salle only a half-game in front of the Owls for first place. Temple beat La Salle in mid-January, a win that served as a catalyst for the current winning streak. If the Owls continue playing this well, they will be competing for another A-10 championship come March.