Temple has been selected to finish seventh in the 12-team American Athletic Conference in the coaches' preseason basketball poll.
The Owls are coming off a 16-16 season in which they lost in the first round of the AAC tournament to East Carolina. Cincinnati, one of two AAC schools, along with SMU, to reach last season's NCAA tournament, is the preseason favorite.
Newcomer Wichita State is second in the poll, trailing Cincinnati by a single point. Cincinnati received seven of the 12 first-place votes, with Wichita State earning the other five.
Here is the poll
2 Wichita State
3. Central Florida
11 East Carolina
12 South Florida
Temple did not have a player on the first or second preseason all-conference teams. SMU junior guard Shake Milton was named preseason player of the year.
Temple will have an experienced team bolstered by the return of senior point guard Josh Brown, who was granted a medical redshirt after appearing in just five games last season. Junior guard Shizz Alston is Temple's leading returning scorer (13.9 points), and 6-foot-10 senior Obi Enechionyia averaged 13.1.
Two years ago, the Owls were picked sixth in the AAC and ended up winning the regular-season title and advancing to the NCAA tournament. Last year, Temple was picked sixth in preseason and finished eighth with a 7-11 conference mark.
"We got picked sixth [two years ago] and won the league's regular season, so this [preseason poll] doesn't mean much to me," Enechionyia said.
What matters most to the Owls is returning to the NCAA tournament.
"We talked about how many teams coming from our conference will get to the NCAA tournament and if we are indeed in the middle of the pack, we probably won't get there," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "We have to be one of the top five and hopefully we get as many as five teams in the tournament."
Two years ago, Temple was among four AAC teams to earn an NCAA bid.
Virtually every coach who talked about Temple mentioned the return of Brown as being a key.
"It's great to see Josh Brown back," said Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie, the former 76ers guard. "He has been a great point guard in the league and to have him back will really help Fran, the whole community, the team at Temple, and he will be a great addition."
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin had a similar take.
"I don't think people realize how good [Brown] is and he is a big addition to them, especially when a guy is older like that and knows it is his last year," Cronin said. "He is a tough kid, he's a competitive guy."
Brown says he is excited to return and looking to use Temple's preseason ranking to the Owls' advantage.
"It is motivation," Brown said. "We understand what we have to do to climb up that ladder and we are working hard every day."