The Temple Owls are a confident bunch. Last season, the Owls thought they would beat the third-ranked Duke Blue Devils, and they did.
Temple (6-0) will shoot for a repeat performance against second-ranked Duke on Saturday afternoon in the Carquest Auto Parts Classic at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
"Last year was a good experience for us," said Owls guard Khalif Wyatt, who scored 22 points in that contest. "And I think this year we are going to be ready to go again.
"We are going to go out there and give maximum effort and try to come out with a win."
Temple snapped a nine-game losing streak to Duke with last season's 78-73 upset at the Wells Fargo Center. A win Saturday would give the Owls consecutive victories over the Blue Devils for the first time since 1949-50.
"Any time you have an opportunity to play Duke, it's a tremendous challenge but a great opportunity," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "It's arguably the finest program in the country over the last 25 years."
The Blue Devils (8-0) look capable of bringing coach Mike Krzyzewski his fifth national title. Already this season, Duke has posted victories over Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State.
The Blue Devils return four starters and 10 players from last season's 27-7 team. They've also added two McDonald's all-Americans, guard Rasheed Sulaimon and reserve forward Amile Jefferson. Jefferson, a West Philadelphia native who played at Friends' Central, considered Temple before signing with Duke.
Senior power forward Mason Plumlee leads the Blue Devils in points (19.6 per game) and rebounds (11). The 6-foot-10 Plumlee and 6-11 Ryan Kelly make up a towering frontcourt.
"We just have to take care of the ball, make sure we play solid defense, and eliminate as many second-chance opportunities as we can," Wyatt said. "Just be solid. Do what we do."
Temple vs. Duke
Saturday at 3:15 p.m. at the Izod Center, East Rutherford, N.J.
TV/Radio: ESPN; WPHT-AM (1210)
Records: Temple, 6-0; second-ranked Duke, 8-0.
Coaches: Temple, Fran Dunphy (seventh season, 140-65); Duke, Mike Krzyzewski (33d season, 862-232).
Series: Duke leads, 18-10. Temple won, 78-73, last season.