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Sleeping With The Enemy: The Owls of Temple

The undefeated Georgetown Hoyas are taking their talents to Philadelphia tonight, and as usual we are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent.  Special thanks to David Gerson of The Owl's Nest, the greatest Temple site on the internet for providing us with answers to our always intriguing questions.  Mr. Gerson, this Captain and Coke is for you.

File:Temple T logo.svg
Give me a 'T'! (via Creative Commons license)

Temple has long competed in "The Big Five" - talk to us a bit about those games and playing at the Palestra.

Well, here's the history of the Big 5: In 1955 the five major colleges in Philadelphia's rich basketball talent. It's a unique tradition in college basketball that no other city can truly relate to. The teams that compose the Big 5 are La Salle, Penn, St. Joe's, Temple, and Villanova. Every year each team plays the others at least once. Temple ends up playing against La Salle and St. Joe's twice because they are in the same conference.

The Big 5 is all about being the best team in Philadelphia. It's a fun tradition that showcases what Philadelphia basketball is all about. There are a number of rivalries inside the Big 5, including Temple/Villanova, Temple/St. Joe's, and VIllanova/St. Joe's. La Salle considers St. Joe's it's rival, and who could hate on Penn?

A unique fact is that at least one team from the Big 5 has made it to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 33 years.  Last year's Big 5 Champion was Temple.

More fun with fun people after The Jump:

Who are Temple's best scorers? Rebounders?

Temple's best scorers are Juan Fernandez, Ramone Moore, and Lavoy Allen. Fernandez is usually the team's ball handler, setting up and initiating the offense. He has struggled shooting from deep, but has found his stroke as the season has progressed. Moore tends to drive to the basket and make a move on his man more than settling for a shot.  All three of these guys lead the team with double digit scoring. They both do their parts on the boards as well, pulling down a few rebounds each per game.

Leading rebounder is Allen, followed by sixth man Rahlir Jefferson and center Micheal Eric. The Owls did a nice job the past few games controlling the boards, which is the key to our success. That's a whole other story, though.

Fran Dunphy (proud wearer of a tremendous mustache) has done a solid job at Temple over the last 4 years. The legendary John Chaney was never able to get them to a Final Four - is that a realistic goal for Dunphy?

You look now at what Coach Dunphy has accomplished not only the last four years at Temple, but also before at Penn. At the helm here, Dunph has taken this team to four straight Atlantic 10 Championships and NCAA Tournament births. We have been extremely fortunate to have such a quality coach, and I believe the first step here is to get us a tournament win.

I'm not thinking about Final Fours until my team can even get out of the first round. Hopefully fourth time's a charm.

Sadly, John Chaney and John Calipari never actually came to blows. Had it gone down, do you think the younger and quicker Calipari would have had the upper hand or would Chaney's old school fighting led to a knockout?

I'd take an old school fighter in Coach Chaney. I think that Calipari would be too busy making sure his makeup looked good and that he was looking good for the cameras, while J.C. gets a nice shot on him.

It's Hanukkah and we're chatting with Temple. We all know where to get cheesesteaks in Philly but if we're looking for a nice Reuben or corned beef sandwich, where should we be?

File:Katz's Deli - Lunch.jpg
Nice Reuben sandwich. (via Creative Commons license)

Well first of Happy Hanukkah to you. (Casual note: Thanks!)  

There's a quality deli that I've been to called Famous 4th Street Deli. It's located on Krewstown Road in NE Philly. They've got some great sandwiches there, including a great beef salami sandwich. I haven't had the corned beef, but I would imagine that it tastes great, just like everything else.

After being a guaranteed victory for years, Temple football appears to have turned the corner with back-to-back winning seasons. Will Al Golden be bolting for a higher profile job?

We have turned the corner in some sense, but not the way that Temple fans want it to be. Temple has become a consistent winner of the last two years. The goal initially was to become competitive (we did it). Then it was learning how to handle winning (we did it). We reached a bowl game in 2009, and got jobbed out of one this year. The next step it to not only return to a bowl game, but to win the Mid-American Conference and our bowl game.

Coach Golden has turned down every candidacy that he has been a part of. That's Boston College, Syracuse, Indiana, UCLA, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, and others that I'm sure I don't remember. Only place I picture him going is Penn State. That's what his goal is.

The A-10 looks to have another very strong year. Where do you see Temple finishing and how many teams will dance?

If the Owls can play to their Top 25 potential, I think we'll be dancing; however, this team finds ways to scare me up to the A10 tournament. This is a group that tends to play better as the season progresses.

I still believe that the Owls can finish in either first or second. I see Temple, Xavier, Richmond, and Dayton making the Big Dance by the end of the year. I think that Saint Louis just misses. TU in my opinion will have the lowest (best) seed, for what it's worth.

The Washington Redskins somehow believed Donovan McNabb would be the savior. As our Philly proxy, what can you recommend for easing the pain of watching McNabb toss picks?

Any type of turnover is disappointing, but Donovan McNabb truly knows how to make things worse. What frustrated me the most out of anything McNabb did (besides his smiling when we committed penalties or lost yards) was when he'd throw balls at the feet of our receivers. Maybe turn your head away because he'd be more willing to throw a bad pass then to use his feet at this point of his career? I just say enjoy what you have for the next five years.

We always hear that Temple is a commuter school but is there anything to do around the campus? What bar should we be hitting to find the coeds?

One of the popular bars to go and watch the Temple games is the Draught Horse. They've got a wide variety of selections for food and drink, and I'm sure that you'll be able to spot a few babes hanging around there. They might be Temple fans, but you can put up with that, right? (Casual note: No.)

How do you see this game playing out and what is your final score prediction?

Here's the deal:

If the Temple from the Old Spice Classic shows up, this one's not even a game. The Owls last year didn't play to their best ability in a home game against Kansas, and were blown out by over 30 points. If we don't show up to play our best basketball, the home court advantage is irrelevant.  If we play smart basketball, force turnovers, and hit baskets, I think this one goes down to the wire. We could see a similar ending to last year's matchup, but hopefully with a different outcome!

I'll say that we show up for tomorrow's game, and make it interesting. For the first time I think that I might pick against the Owls. I can't really believe that I have the courage to do this, regardless of our opponent. I'll say that you guys win this one 75-70.

I hope I'm wrong.

For Casual answers to Owl's Nest questions, click on THIS.