Juan Fernandez and the Temple Owls Playing Like Philly's Finest

George BarnetteContributor IJanuary 25, 2010

Stock Up: Temple

Yes, I know everyone knows about Villanova, but do you know who gave the Wildcats their lone defeat? That would be the Temple Owls. Temple has quietly put together its best season sense the days of Mark Karcher and Pepe Sanchez and they show no signs of stopping.

The Owls have an RPI of 11 and boast wins over five teams in this week’s bracket, two of their three losses came against Georgetown and Kansas, and they have a 9-2 record in road/neutral games.

Led by the backcourt of Juan Fernandez and Ryan Brooks, Temple has the guards to be competitive with anyone on the perimeter. Lavoy Allen, in the paint, held Greg Monroe of Georgetown to a stalemate earlier in the season so the Owls are set in the frontcourt as well.

Dayton was the preseason favorite, but Temple has decided that wasn’t going to happen on its watch. Fran Dunphy made Big Five rival Penn into an Ivy League power and he’s doing the same at Temple.


Stock Up: UAB

Another team rolling along in relative obscurity, the Blazers sit tied with Tulsa atop Conference USA and they’re the best hope of an at-large bid in the conference. They’ve beaten Cincinnati and Butler and can really put some distance between themselves and the rest of the conference. With Tulsa and UTEP coming in, they can put their mark on the league this year.


Stock Down: Clemson

Doesn’t it seem like we come to the same place every year with the Tigers? They pile up wins against cupcakes in the non-conference only to show their real stripes in conference play. The Tigers actually played pretty well in their loss at Georgia Tech, but they were awful in the loss at home to Duke. We’ll see if they can bounce back down the stretch.


Stock Up: Old Dominion

I didn’t know what to make of the Monarchs after losing by 16 at George Mason. Well, I know what to make now. This is a legitimate at-large contender with wins over Georgetown and Charlotte. They’re tied for first in the CAA with Northeastern and George Mason and they are in complete control of their NCAA tournament fate.


Stock Down: Minnesota

I don’t know what’s wrong with Minnesota, but it better get its act together fast. There’s no shame in losing to Michigan State, but twice in the span of three games with another loss to Indiana in between is not good at all. This was a preseason top 20 team and now the Gophers are on the wrong side of the bubble. Not a good place to be with the bubble being as strong as it's been in years.

This Week’s Bracket Projections:

Last Four In: Charlotte, William & Mary, Northwestern, Cincinnati
Last Four Out: Louisville, Wichita State, Notre Dame, Maryland

1. Kentucky 16. Lehigh/Ark-Pine Bluff Milwaukee
8. Georgia Tech 9. UNLV
5. Pittsburgh 12. William & Mary Jacksonville
4. UAB 13. Charlotte
6. Ohio St 11. Siena New Orleans
3. Kansas St 14 .Coastal Carolina
7. Mississippi 10. Rhode Island Providence
2. Georgetown 15 .Weber St

1. Syracuse 16. Arkansas St Buffalo
8. Oklahoma St 9. California
5. Vanderbilt 12. Dayton Spokane
4. Gonzaga 13. College of Charleston
6. Baylor 11. Florida New Orleans
3. Purdue 14. Oakland
7. Connecticut 10. Old Dominion Jacksonville
2. Duke 15. East Tennessee St

1. Villanova 16. Campbell Providence
8. Florida St 9. Texas A&M
5. Temple 12. Northwestern San Jose
4. BYU 13. Louisiana Tech
6. Wake Forest 11. Seton Hall Buffalo
3. Wisconsin 14. Murray St
7. Northern Iowa 10. Mississippi St Oklahoma City
2. Texas 15. Morgan St

1. Kansas 16. Robert Morris Oklahoma City
8. Xavier 9. Cornell
5. Butler 12. Cincinnati Spokane
4. Tennessee 13. Pacific
6. New Mexico 11. Richmond San Jose
3. West Virginia 14. Maine
7. Missouri 10. Clemson Milwaukee
2. Michigan St 15. Sam Houston St