Temple Owls Basketball: A Midseason Skid has the Owls Reeling

After a hot start to the season, the Temple Owls have cooled off, to say the least. The team that looked like it was shot out of a cannon to begin the year has struggled mightily as of late.

The Owls began the season with an impressive 6-1 start which included two wins at the Orlando Invitational and a big win on the road against USC. Even their loss against a ranked Maryland team had one thinking they have the team to compete with some of the countries better teams. The Owls finished up their non-conference part of the schedule at 8-3. However, they easily could have entered conference play with nine or ten wins.

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The team put up a terrible showing at home against a sub-par Missouri team. A game where Temple shot an abysmal 34.7% from the field and 9.5% from 3-point range. The team also lost a heartbreaker to Miami in a neutral site game a few days after putting up 108 points on Big 5 rival St. Joseph’s.

Aaron McKie‘s squad started off conference play with a very impressive road victory against Johnny Dawkins‘ UCF squad. A game that saw Quinton Rose take over in the final minute of the game. That game should have been a springboard for what was at the time an underrated Temple team. However, the team has hit a skid that has completely turned their season in the wrong direction.

The Owls traveled to Tulsa and suffered one of their worst losses in recent memory, losing 70-44. They would then go on to lose their next four out of five games. Two of which were blowouts to Tulane and SMU. The Owls had a huge win against 16th ranked Wichita State which at the time was thought to be a momentum shifter in the season. However, two straight losses brought the Owls back to reality.

Defensively Temple continues to live up to the reputation and precedent that was set by former head coach Fran Dunphy. They currently rank in the top 75 in defense allowing just under 65 ppg as well as top 75 in steals. They are also top 35 in opponent field goal percentage with opposing teams shooting 38% from the field. However, things aren’t as glamourous on the offensive end.

The biggest issue with the Owls during this stretch is simple. They can’t put the ball in the basket. Temple is 305th in field goal percentage and 258th in scoring. Offense comes at a premium for this team. Quinton Rose leads the team in scoring but can prove to be inconsistent at times. Alani Moore‘s hot start to the season has cooled off tremendously. De’Vondre Perry has shown spurts with his 3-point shooting but it hasn’t been consistent either. Monty Scott hasn’t played up to early-season expectations as a scoring threat either. And although Nate Pierre-Louis is like a Swiss army knife for the Owls, his deficiencies shooting the ball on offense are staggering.

Entering conference play the Owls looked like a team that could steal an at-large bid for the tournament. However, unless they turn things around in their next 13 games the team will be looking at another trip to the NIT.

Do you think the Temple Owls Men’s Basketball Team will make the dance? Leave a comment below.

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