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Temple picked sixth in AAC men's basketball preseason poll

Temple was picked sixth in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll, which was released Monday morning at the conference's media day.

Temple was picked sixth in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll, which was released Monday morning at the conference's media day.

Owls players didn't seem to care much about their ranking, which was voted on by the league's coaches. Perhaps that's because it's a position the team is used to.

This is the third straight year Temple has been picked No. 6 among the AAC's 11 teams.

"We know this league is filled with a lot of good teams," said Temple senior forward Mark Williams. "We are a good team ourselves. We really don't feed into the rankings too much."

In 2014-15 the Owls finished third in the AAC, just missing an NCAA berth and advancing to the semifinals of the NIT.

Last year Temple won the regular season AAC title and earned an NCAA berth before losing to Iowa in their first game.

"Preseason rankings don't mean that much. We don't really focus on them," said junior forward Obi Enechionyia, the leading returning scorer who averaged 11.0 points. "They may pick us last and it doesn't mean anything."

Except, well...

"We will try to use it as motivation," he added.

No Owls players were selected for individual preseason honors. Senior guard Josh Brown might have been the most likely candidate, having played in game of a 2015-16 season that culminated in Temple's first NCAA Tournament berth since 2013. But he injured an Achilles tendon in May, and is only just now getting back to being healthy enough to play.

Owls coach Fran Dunphy said Monday that Brown is in the final stages of his injury rehab. If Brown is ready to go when the season starts on Nov. 11, it would give Temple a big boost. Otherwise, expect sophomore Levan "Shizz" Alston Jr. and freshman Alani Moore to be the primary ballhandlers in the backcourt.

Here are the full AAC preseason poll results, as voted on by the league's coaches:

Preseason Co-Players of the Year

G Troy Caupain, Cincinnati
G/F Dedric Lawson, Memphis

Preseason Rookie of the Year

G Alterique Gilbert, Connecticut

First team

G Troy Caupain, Cincinnati (unanimous selection)
G Damyean Dotson, Houston
G/F Dedric Lawson, Memphis
F Gary Clark, F, Cincinnati (unanimous selection)
F Ben Moore, Southern Methodist

Second team

Temple's women's team got some very good news when it was picked second in the AAC preseason coaches' poll.

Connecticut, of course was No. 1. South Florida was No. 3, and got Huskies coach Geno Auriemma's first place vote.

Owls guards Alliya Butts and Feyonda Fitzgerald were named to the preseason all-conference first team.

Preseason poll results

Preseason Player of the Year

G Kia Nurse, Connecticut

First team

G Kia Nurse, Connecticut
G Alliya Butts, Temple (unanimous selection)
G Feyonda Fitzgerald, Temple
G Kolby Morgan, Tulane
F Kitija Laska, South Florida

Second team

G Zykira Lewis, Central Florida
G Gabby Williams, Connecticut
G Leslie Vorpahl, Tulane
F Napheesa Collier, Connecticut
F Alicia Froling, Southern Methodist