STORRS, Conn. - A year ago, Temple was picked to finish sixth in the American Athletic Conference race and fooled all the experts by winning the regular season division title.
This year, Temple was again picked to finish sixth and it's looking more and more as if the prognosticators got it right this time.
The Owls dropped to 10-8, and 1-4 in the AAC, with their 73-59 loss to Connecticut on Wednesday at Gampel Pavilion.
One of the differences this year is that the Owls need their leading scorer to be that nearly every game. When 6-foot-10 junior Obi Enechionyia is off, the team isn't deep enough offensively to pick things up.
On Wednesday he shot 3 for 17 from the field and 1 for 10 from three-point range.
He wasn't forcing shots, but he wasn't making them either.
Senior point guard Josh Brown has been out since Dec. 13 with Achilles soreness and possibly could miss the rest of the season. Sophomore guard Trey Lowe is redshirting while recovering from upper-body injuries from a February car accident. Without those two, Temple simply doesn't have offensive depth.
Nobody knows this more than Enechionyia, a standup individual whether he is the leading scorer or struggling.
"I have to adjust, and the next time I have a game like that I have to find out ways to get to the foul line," Enechionyia said before boarding the team bus for the long ride home.
He didn't attempt a single free throw. In fact Temple was just 3 for 8 from the foul line.
While it's a good goal to get to the foul line by driving to the basket, Temple actually hurt itself by challenging 7-foot center Amida Brimah too often in the first half. He had six first-half blocks while the Huskies enjoyed a 39-28 halftime lead.
It wasn't only the shooting that abandoned the Owls. They were outrebounded, 40-31, and their defense was less than stellar, allowing UConn to shoot 52.8 percent from the field (28 for 53).
"Our defense wasn't any good in the first half," coach Fran Dunphy said.
It wasn't much better in the second, either. UConn shot 55.6 percent in the first half and 50 percent in the second.
Despite his performance, Enechionyia remains a top perimeter threat, shooting 39.1 percent from beyond the arc. Temple has to hope he can shake off this performance and others. He is never outwardly boastful but extremely confident, which is needed at this juncture.
"This is my third year and I have been in the position like this where we had a few bad games and we always bounced back and played well at the end of the season," he said. "There is really no doubt in my mind we will bounce back from this and go on a run."
The goodwill Temple created from beating current ranked teams Florida State and West Virginia has almost run out. It is still relatively early in the conference season with 13 remaining games, but Temple is now forced to go on one of those runs Enechionyia talked about.