Maybe if the 76ers pull off some crazy upset, beat the Cavaliers or Warriors or something, Sixers fans will storm the court at the Wells Fargo Center. Otherwise, this was probably it for court-stormings inside the place this winter. Temple's student body lingered out there Monday night, taking selfies.
The scoreboard in the background of their iPhone shots confirmed that the Owls had manhandled No. 10 Kansas, 77-52. This was a Temple team that had won nine games last season. To say the least, it isn't the same squad.
The second-semester eligibility of a couple of guards has changed the calculus of Temple's season, providing impressive offensive balance and necessary depth to join a constantly helping defense that just wasn't there a year ago. The combo did in Kansas whenever the Jayhawks weren't doing themselves in.
Asked after last week's victory at winless Delaware about how important it was not to consider the achievement to be fool's gold, Temple coach Fran Dunphy began by saying, "I think I'm non-fool's gold guy." But here Dunphy was four nights later saying things like, "I think we're going to be able to score. Defensively, we have to be as good as we can be."
He meant: as good as this. Kansas coach Bill Self couldn't have predicted that his starting frontcourt pair would combine for one field goal while his guards kept getting beaten.
"Their guards were so good and quick," Self said, clinically assessing the situation after he was done screaming at his team. ". . . You've got to guard 'em and then they get their shoulders past you. They're very good one-on-one players."
Since it was just the second game for Owls newcomers Jesse Morgan and Devin Coleman, Self was asked a question about them, which started by saying it was tough to know much about them. Self interrupted: "I knew enough."
That Delaware film told him that Morgan and Coleman were for real and all of a sudden Will Cummings can do his thing, finding lanes to the hoop and bodies to crash into when the lane closes, which gets the savvy point guard some free throws.
Unless you're a superpower in college hoops, the best teams for a season or on a given night usually feature three guards. Owls starters Cummings, Morgan and Quenton DeCosey combined for 54 points as Temple improved to 8-4. "We looked like we were totally in sync," Dunphy said.
At the other end, another transfer, Jaylen Bond, back from Texas this season, made the biggest impression, constantly battling Kansas possessions into submission. Freshman Obi Enechionyia once again showed he is equipped for big games, grabbing eight defensive rebounds in 19 minutes. And center Devontae Watson also made all of his 17 minutes count, guarding the rim while getting a couple of buckets of his own.
Where will this all lead? Who knows? But let's go there: If Temple was going to turn into a legit NCAA at-large contender, winning this game provided the last real path, since it was the last nonconference scalp that could make an impression, and there are only a limited number of ways to impress within the American Athletic Conference beyond the necessary work of piling up a strong league record.
Of course, that is getting ahead of things. Maybe the Owls will turn out to be legitimate, but a league season tends to expose all the issues, pro and con. Right now, Temple is a nice blended family, as Dunphy termed his group the other night. Some players will have to live with lost minutes. "We've got a long way to go," Temple's coach said. "We've got to keep everybody on the same page."
"Did you storm the court?" a young guy asked a Temple student right after it was over. "Your mother was worried."
A program that had hit the doldrums suddenly has life again. Everyone has seen enough to confirm it, and plenty have the selfie to commemorate it.