The Owls don’t normally wait until this late in the season to start rolling.
For some reason, coach John Chaney’s bunch has decided to play their best basketball of the season in the last week of February.
But their efforts might not mean that much.
The Owls will face Saint Joseph’s Sunday at the Palestra. But that game in itself won’t mean much.
The games that count begin on March 6.
That’s when the coveted A-10 tournament begins at the First Union Spectrum, where a season of woes can become a forgotten memory.
That is, if the Owls you all know and love decide to show up for the party.
If not, then it’s off to the National Invitational Tournament, or worse, no tournament at all.
“It would feel different because I’m used to going to the NCAA Tournament and playing well in it,” Lynn Greer said. “If we happen to go to the NIT, that’s what we put ourselves in. Nobody else did that to us. We did it to ourselves.”
The Owls must remember that.
Temple has had a season of struggles, but it could come away with a NCAA bid with a win in the A-10 tournament. Last season it took three free throws from Greer in the final seconds to beat George Washington in the A-10 tournament and earn a NCAA bid.
It will be a tough task for the Owls to get back. With its win over St. Bonaventure last Saturday, Temple assured itself of a bye on the first day of the tournament.
They will have to play three games in three nights and win if they want an invite to the big dance come March 9.
“I had a chance to get five NCAA [Tournament] watches. Not many players ever do that. It’s something I really wanted,” Greer recently told the Daily News. “The records are nice, but when you look back, you don’t want to say you were part of the team that didn’t go to the NCAA’s for the first time since 1989. Especially when you’re a senior. That’s your team. It’s the year you always look back on. If we don’t make it, I know I had a great career. But it would put a damper on it.”
A damper would not even begin to explain the hopes that many put on this team in the pre-season. The Owls were ranked high at the beginning of the season, but quickly plummeted out of the national spotlight.
Now the Owls try to shine again.
It begins next week with the A-10 Tournament and hopefully, for the Owls and all of their fans, it will continue into the waning days of March.