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500 wins? Dunphy has bigger hurdles ahead

Temple coach Fran Dunphy is one win away from 500 in his career and right now it's the furthest thing from his mind.

Temple head coach Fran Dunphy. (John Geliebter/USA Today Sports)
Temple head coach Fran Dunphy. (John Geliebter/USA Today Sports)Read more(John Geliebter/USA Today Sports)

Temple coach Fran Dunphy is one win away from 500 in his career and right now it's the furthest thing from his mind.

With the 22-9 Owls in serious running for an NCAA tournament berth, Dunphy's only concern is beating Memphis in Friday's 2 p.m. American Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal at the XL Center in Hartford. Temple is the No. 4 seed and Memphis is No. 5.

"I really haven't thought about it," Dunphy said Monday on a conference call when asked about his impending milestone. "I am thinking about Memphis and how big it would be to get a win in our first American Athletic Conference game."

Dunphy went 310-163 at Penn and is 189-106 in his ninth season at Temple. He has been to the NCAA tournament 15 times, nine with Penn and six with Temple.

While he always understates his accomplishments, Friday's opponent, Memphis coach Josh Pastner, was more than willing to talk glowingly about Dunphy's career.

"I don't think there is any reason why a guy like Fran Dunphy should not be considered for the Hall of Fame," Pastner said on the same AAC conference call. "He is coming on 500 wins and I hope it is not against us but in the NCAA tournament."

Pastner then expanded on the topic even further.

"He is a fantastic gentleman, a great coach and when you are talking about 500 wins, the guy deserves to be there," Pastner said. "I think if you ask anybody around the country, they would echo what I am saying, he deserves strong consideration for the Hall of Fame."

This year, two college coaches are up for consideration in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (of Chester) and Kentucky coach John Calipari. The Hall of Fame class will be announced on April 6, the day of the NCAA title game.

Of more immediate concern, Pastner says he feels Temple has already done enough to warrant an NCAA tournament bid. (At this point, there would be others who disagree with the Memphis coach).

Dunphy has been consistent, saying that the Owls need to win each game they play.

Memphis (18-13) will be playing without its top player, 6-foot-9 sophomore Austin Nichols, who is averaging 13.3 points 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots. Pastner said that Nichols is out all week with a bone bruise on his ankle.

Nichols originally injured his ankle in a 61-60 home loss to Temple on Feb. 7. In that game he had 17 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots before leaving for good due to the ankle injury with 7 minutes and 10 seconds left.

Nichols then sat out two games, returned to play four and then reinjured the ankle and missed the final two regular season games.