Skip to content
College Sports
Link copied to clipboard

Temple needs to keep winning to emerge from a crowded bubble and make the NCAA Tournament

The Owls have two regular-season games left, including an opportunity on Saturday against Central Florida.

Temple's Shizz Alston makes a behind-the-back pass to a teammate in the Tulane game.
Temple's Shizz Alston makes a behind-the-back pass to a teammate in the Tulane game.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

Life would be a lot easier for Temple this week if the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee, the panel entrusted with selecting and seeding the 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament, were to adopt the current bracket projection of the Risky Sisky Sports Blog on Selection Sunday.

But the committee won’t, which means the Owls will need to win both of their final regular-season games this week -- Thursday night at Connecticut, Saturday at home versus Central Florida -- to stay on the correct side of the overstuffed bubble.

The latest brackets Tuesday included ESPN’s Joe Lunardi with Temple as the No. 3 team in his last four in, a 12 seed that will play in the First Four in Dayton;’s Jerry Palm and’s Howie Schwab seeding the Owls in their last four byes at No. 11, and Sports Illustrated’s Michael Beller with Temple as the first team out.

It should be crazy with the last week of the regular season and postseason tournaments still to be played before Selection Sunday on March 17. As of Tuesday, counting the four sites above, there were 26 teams battling for the last 12 at-large spots -- four No. 10 seeds, four No. 11 seeds, and the four teams competing in the two First Four, or play-in, games.

Which brings us back to the Risky Sisky Sports Blog, the creation of Rob Siske, a self-proclaimed “stat fanatic and all-around sports geek” from Nashville. Siske forecasts Temple as a No. 9 seed in his latest projection, one of 110 that can be found on the Bracket Matrix web site (

The Bracket Matrix logs the latest seeds and teams from each of 110 sites. Temple currently averages a 12 seed along with Arizona State, Alabama, and Clemson. The Owls were listed in the bracket on 62 of the 110 projections.

Regardless, the margin of error for Temple is slim. The Owls (No. 57 NET) must get by UConn (No. 104) before they are presented with an opportunity for a Quadrant 1 win Saturday against UCF (No. 29) at the Liacouras Center. Temple is 1-6 in Quadrant 1, with its only victory coming over Houston.

With two victories, the Owls would be no worse than a No. 4 seed in the AAC tournament, or perhaps a No. 3 if Central Florida loses to Cincinnati on Thursday at home in addition to Temple. One win in the tournament would likely punch their NCAA ticket.

However, a loss in any of those three games would mean a sweaty Selection Sunday in front of the television.