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Don’t tell Temple Big 5 doesn’t mean anything

Owls have city championship to win before focusing on NCAA, A-10 tournaments.

This type of week doesn’t happen anywhere else in the country.

Yes, there are other storied rivalries, but there’s nothing like Philadelphia basketball, specifically the Big 5.

Just look at what Temple is facing this week. The Owls (21-5, 10-2 A-10) climbed into the national rankings at No. 22 in the AP poll. They have won 10 straight games and are peaking at the proper time.

Yet their two games this week will be tougher than any conference game.

Try La Salle on Wednesday at Tom Gola Arena and Saint Joseph’s on Saturday at Hagan Arena. Only in the Big 5.

“Big games, both of them,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.

While Temple is virtually assured of another NCAA tournament berth, the Big 5 title is undecided.

Dunphy’s squad will try to secure a Big 5 title on the road. It won’t be easy, but Dunphy never worries about circumstances. His motto is to just show up and play.

“The good part is we don’t have to travel very far to get there,” Dunphy said.

The Explorers (18-9) and Hawks (18-10) are both much improved from last season. This marks the third consecutive season Temple has been nationally ranked and the 18th time in its history.

The NCAA and Atlantic 10 tournaments loom large in the background. This week? It’s all about the Big 5.

“I think for years these teams have been competing against one another for the right to brag a little bit,” Dunphy said. “It’s coming down to the end of the year, and you want to finish up as strong as you possibly can, so there are a lot of different implications here.”

Giunta heads back to nest

Temple announced yesterday that Joe Giunta will be the school’s senior associate athletic director for sports administration starting on March 8.

Giunta had served as Cabrini College’s athletic director for the past four years, after working as Temple’s associate athletic director for sports administration.

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