By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It is conference tournament time in college basketball. The Atlantic 10 Tournament gets underway on Thursday in Brooklyn.
However, thanks to a 23-8 record and an impressive win in their regular season finale over VCU, the Temple Owls have earned a first-round bye and won’t take the court until Friday.
Temple comes into the post-season hot, having won seven straight games.
“You know we’ve had a nice run here,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy tells KYW Newsradio. “The fact is we have to continue to play well. We’ve got a few days now to regroup and get ready for our conference tournament, which will be very important for us.”
Dunphy thinks his team is in pretty good shape heading into this tourney.
“We have to be in a situation where we are playing our best basketball, and I’d like to think that we are,” Dunphy says. “We’re getting better defensively and we’re taking care of the ball well and we’re making shots. Obviously, if you do those things, you can have some success.”
Now Temple will play the winner of UMass and George Washington in the quarterfinals. Those two teams play in the first-round on Thursday. So how do the Owls prepare when their opponent is uncertain?
“You’re certainly more worried about you than anybody else and trying to tighten up your stuff and try to get better offensively and tighten up your defense,” Dunphy says. “We’ll throw some UMass stuff into our practice plan, and some GW stuff into it. Hopefully be ready as we go about our process.”
The Owls will be looking to avoid a repeat of last season’s A-10 Tournament, when they had a first-round bye as the #1 seed, and then promptly got bounced in the quarterfinals by UMass.
“When you do get the bye, you still have to do a good job,” Dunphy says. “Last year we did not in the first round and it was very disappointing for us.”
The Temple game vs the UMass/GW winner on Friday will tip-off at approximately 9:00pm.
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