One team that Temple has struggled with since joining the American Athletic Conference is Tulsa. The Owls are 2-8 lifetime against the Golden Hurricane and 2-6 since meeting in AAC play beginning in 2015.
One of those losses occurred Feb. 9 when the Golden Hurricane earned a 76-58 home win over the Owls.
The rematch will be Saturday when Temple (19-7, 9-4) hosts Tulsa (16-11, 6-8) at noon at the Liacouras Center.
Temple is considered on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. The Owls have five games left, including three at home. ESPN bracket expert Joe Lunardi thinks Temple has to go 4-1 in the final five games, including winning all three at home, to keep pace.
Temple, which is tied for third place in the AAC with Central Florida, had problems against Tulsa’s matchup zone in this year’s earlier game.
“I think everybody in the league has had a tough time getting shots against them,” Owls coach Fran Dunphy said. “When we have gotten good shots, we haven’t converted, and we need to do that certainly on Saturday.”
In the loss earlier this month, Temple shot just 15-for-49 from the field (30.6 percent). Temple’s two leading scorers, Shizz Alston and Quinton Rose, shot a combined 6-for-26.
“They play an outstanding zone, and they are really tough to beat down there,” said Alston, averaging a team-high 18.7 points.
That said, Tulsa is coming off Wednesday’s 81-60 home loss to Wichita State, a game in which the Shockers tied a school record with 15 three-pointers.
In the earlier Tulsa win over Temple, five players scored in double figures for the Golden Hurricane, led by Sterling Taplin, a 6-foot-1 senior guard who had 14 points. He hit both of his three-pointers, and Tulsa was 8-for-15 from beyond the arc.
Tulsa’s leading scorer is DaQuan Jeffries, a 6-5 senior who averages 13.7 points.
One thing that should help Temple is that the Owls will have had a week off, having last played Saturday in a 70-69 overtime win at South Florida.
“It is really good to take a week off and get the body right,” Alston said.