Few teams have the privilege of playing in the post season. Especially when your team has a record barely above .500, like the Temple men’s basketball team.
But that’s why there is the NIT, the tournament for everyone who got dissed by the NCAA selection committee, failed to win its conference tournament or were on the bubble.
The Owls were on the bubble for a good portion of the season, especially after winning nine out of 10 games late in the season. The Owls have now been to the postseason 19 consecutive seasons and will face Fresno State in the opening round of the NIT on the road Wednesday night.
This seasons NIT should bring more excitement than usual as the competition has raised a notch. The field has also expanded to 40 teams.
Nearly every team invited to this seasons NIT are household school-names: Virginia, UNLV, St. Josephs, Syracuse, Louisville and Princeton to name a few. As well as some familiar names: Rick Pitino and DaJuan Wagner.
Nearly all those teams were in the hunt for a conference title or on the bubble until the waning minutes of Sunday evening. The Owls chances were shot down with a first round loss to LaSalle in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Championship.
The NIT is no NCAA tournament, but will have to do for Temple.
At least this season.
Nonetheless the game will go on and the two coaches on the sidelines, the colorful Jerry Tarkanian and John Chaney, should add some flair to the game.
Now the Owls have a shot to end the season on a high note and send their seniors off with a championship. A National Invitational Tournament championship, that is.