Alright, so my lone preseason prediction that both the men’s and women’s basketball teams would produce oodles of excitement has flopped.
But, the season is only half over, and there’s still some time to see if the Owls will leave their nests.
The women’s basketball team’s season, dubbed ‘Episode III’ by head coach Dawn Staley, has been anything but spectacular and is unraveling into something more like the Scream trilogy.
The rules were set and goals were written down when Staley arrived three years ago.
The sequel was a box office smash, ending with a trip to the NCAA Tournament, though some rules were bent along the way – i.e. an inconsistent offense.
The final chapter of the trilogy has thrown the rules out the window, the same rules that put them into the postseason last year and atop the preseason predictions to win the Atlantic 10 Conference this year.
So go ahead and scream.
Or just take a deep breath and reevaluate the situation.
There are nine games left for the women’s basketball team to get things together and hopefully make a run in the A-10 tournament in Kingston, R.I.
No one said the season would be easy for Staley’s squad. Guards Stacey Smalls and Chrissy Cruz are the only returning seniors and only recently seem to be finding a rhythm.
The Owls continue to win one and lose one, which won’t get them very far.
An early non-conference schedule, which pitted the Owls against several nationally ranked teams, dropped Temple off the national radar in just the first month of action.
The height in the frontcourt looks more like a mirage, with inexperienced freshmen and a sophomore who is still learning her role.
This has equated to constant losses in the rebounding department.
If the Owls can’t rebound, they can’t push the ball up the court and utilize their speed, which explains the 6-12, (2-5 A-10) record.
The men’s team is in a similar bind with a 5-12, (3-4 A-10) mark.
Its problems have been the lack of a true point guard or an inside presence, which 7-foot freshman center Keith Butler has yet to provide.
John Chaney, just like Staley, created a mountain for the team to summit in its non-conference schedule so the Owls could maybe take a sleigh ride through their A-10 schedule.
The black diamonds proved too difficult for the Owls to handle, with losses to Illinois, Wisconsin and Villanova.
But Temple couldn’t even handle the bunny slope when it dropped a conference game to Duquesne, which rests near the rock bottom of the A-10 West on a yearly basis.
Nearly the only positives were the home win against then No. 10 Indiana and the fact that Chaney hasn’t checked into a hospital again.
It’s no secret that the competition in the A-10 has improved for both the men and the women.
The road to the NCAA Tournament is wider than I-95, despite the conference losing a large number of high-scoring seniors to graduation.
A new semester could bring new results, since both teams have been putting in overtime on the practice court.
But if that extra effort doesn’t yield more production on game days, Temple can collectively forget about the postseason for the first time in 23 years.
Chris Salvo can be reached at CBSRICAN@AOL.COM