It seems lately both Temple and Villanova keep having scheduling conflicts with each other. In early August, Temple officials were grappling with the football team’s lack of a home. In an eleventh-hour deal, Temple signed a lucrative contract with the Philadelphia Eagles to use Lincoln Financial Field for home games. This prevented any complications between the two schools meeting the first Saturday in September.
But that wasn’t the only scheduling conflict these two schools were tangled in this past summer.
There is a good reason why Temple and Villanova will meet tonight in a non-conference action at midnight. College basketball teams make their own non-conference schedules, and had Wildcats coach Jay Wright not agreed to the matchup, the two schools would have ceased playing against each other as long as Chaney remained in charge.
Originally Villanova was to play Temple at a more suitable time on Nov. 21 then fly to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. However, last March the NCAA suspended 12 Villanova players for abuse of a telephone access code.
Wright wanted to get out of playing Temple and substitute the game for a pair of contests against Division III teams. Owls coach John Chaney was totally opposed. The coaches talked about the situation over the phone, which got fairly heated, admitted Chaney.
“It was a contentious issue, but I don’t want to talk about that now,” Chaney said.
Chaney was adamant on playing the game since putting together a schedule is a difficult process. So he offered to play the game at midnight on Friday morning. Wright agreed. This would allow the Wildcats to catch an early flight to play Redlands College on Saturday afternoon and then fly to Hawaii to play Chaminade in a tournament.
So it was settled. Another potential disaster between the two schools was averted. Now how do you approach such a game?
“I think there is a certain novelty to it,” Temple assistant coach Dan Leibovitz said. “It should be something interesting to prepare for, obviously we’ve never dealt with anything like it. When is your shoot around? When is your pre-game meal? These are all questions you have to think about for a midnight game.”
Among the notable Villanova players who will be serving suspensions are guards, senior Derrick Snowden and sophomore Curtis Sumpter.
The Owls are looking to open the season on a positive note after beginning last year with five straight losses. Starting center Keith Butler could miss tonight’s game with a sprained ankle. He will be a game-time decision.
“I thought it was a mistake or a typo on the schedule,” sophomore forward Antywane Robinson said of the midnight tip-off. “Maybe coach will install a two o’clock in the morning practice instead of five o’clock. It’s going to be real strange playing at 12 o’clock at night, it’s a time you should be asleep but that’s the way they done the schedule so you just got to go along with coach Chaney’s game plan.”
Jason S. Haslam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.