Temple head coach Fran Dunphy has taken some heat this season. His team dropped to 5-13 with a loss to Cincinnati Sunday.
The Temple men’s basketball team lost its eighth game of the year by six or fewer points. They also dropped to 0-7 in AAC conference play, and to 5-13 overall.
This is not what the city of Philadelphia has come to expect from the Owls, who are fresh off five straight NCAA tournament berths.
In any of those five seasons, the Owls would likely have tossed the ball to a clutch shooter trailing 78-76 against No. 15 Cincinnati at home at the Liacorous Center Sunday. Perhaps Khalif Wyatt would have driven the lane, or Ryan Brooks would have fired off a three.
But instead, a young, untested and certainly unclutch group of recruits struggle to play Fran Dunphy style basketball.
It seems to be a perfect storm for the Owls to hit the basement of a brand new conference, as the AAC boasts six of the top 25 teams in the nation. All of whom Temple has, or will face, including its Big Five rival Villanova, currently ranked No. 4.
No longer are the Owls in the safe confines of the A-10, facing Richmond, GW or Rhode Island. Instead they are traveling to UConn, Louisville and Memphis.
Dunphy and company will have to deal with the growing pains, and the lessons learned in a painful 2013-14 could perhaps prove worth it in years to come.