AAC tournament: Temple will play the winner of Wichita State-East Carolina in quarterfinal
The Owls went 1-0 against both Wichita State and ECU this year, winning both on the road.
After two dramatic and emotional wins over the final three days of the regular season, Temple will now get a breather before beginning play in the American Athletic Conference tournament, which begins Thursday in Memphis, Tenn.
Earning a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed, Temple won’t see action until Friday. The Owls will face the winner of the game between No. 6 Wichita State and No. 11 East Carolina.
The quarterfinal game will be the final one on Friday, scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Temple (23-8, 13-5 AAC) won 78-71 on Thursday at UConn and then beat then No. 25 Central Florida, 67-62, in Saturday’s emotional regular-season finale at the Liacouras Center. It was the final regular-season game for Temple coach Fran Dunphy, who will be replaced next season by associate head coach Aaron McKie.
While it’s thought that Temple has done enough to earn an NCAA berth, there are so many teams on the bubble that nobody knows for sure. Temple’s NET after Saturday’s win was 49.
Temple won an 85-81 overtime decision at Wichita State (17-13, 10-8) on Jan. 2 and scored an 85-74 victory at ECU (10-20, 3-15) on Jan. 16.
By edging out UCF due to a tiebreaker for the No. 3 seed, Temple avoided a potential quarterfinal matchup against the home team, Memphis.
UCF will face the winner of No. 5 Memphis and No. 12 Tulane.
Temple comes into the tournament with momentum, having won three in a row and six of seven. The last loss was an 81-73 defeat at Memphis on Feb. 26.
After competing in the last two hard-fought games, the time off should help the Owls, who last played in the NCAA tournament in the 2016 season.
AAC tournament schedule
Opening round: Thursday, March 14
Game 1: No. 8 South Florida vs. No. 9 UConn, (1 p.m. ESPNU),
Game 2: No. 5 Memphis vs. No. 12 Tulane, (3 p.m. ESPNU).
Game 3: No. 7 Tulsa vs. No. 10 SMU, (8 p.m. ESPNU).
Game 4: No. 6 Wichita State vs. No. 11 ECU, 10 p.m. (ESPNU).
Quarterfinals: Friday, March 15
Game 5: No. 1 Houston vs. winner of Game 1 (noon ESPN2)
Game 6: No. 4 UCF vs. Winner of Game 2 (2 p.m. ESPN2)
Game 7: No. 2 Cincinnati vs. winner of Game 3 (7 p.m. ESPNU)
Game 8: No. 3 Temple vs. winner of Game 4, (9 p.m. ESPNU)
Semifinals: Saturday, March 16
Game 9: winner of Game 5 vs. winner of Game 6 (3 p.m. ESPN2)
Game 10: winner of Game 7 vs. winner of Game 8 (5 p.m. ESPN2)
Final: Sunday, March 17
Game 11 winner of Game 9 vs. winner of Game 10 (3:15 p.m. ESPN)