Temple (0-0) at Penn (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 9, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Palestra (8,722) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Temple 0-0, Penn 0-0. Away Record: Temple 0-0, Penn 0-0. Neutral Record: Temple 0-0, Penn 0-0. Conference Record: Temple 0-0, Penn 0-0. Series Record: Temple leads, 43-19.
GAME NOTES: The earliest Big 5 game in history takes place on Saturday evening, as the Temple Owls take on the Penn Quakers at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia.
Temple head coach Fran Dunphy is facing one of his former players in Penn coach Jerome Allen, and the Owls are seeking their seventh straight win in a series they have dominated over the years (43-19).
Temple is embarking on its first season as a member of the brand new American Athletic Conference after previously calling the Atlantic 10 Conference home. Dunphy, who enters his eighth year with the Owls, served as Penn's coach for 17 seasons and led the team to 10 Ivy League championships. He is 6-1 against his former club, and Temple is looking to up the ante after logging a 24-10 record last season.
Penn went just 9-22 in 2012-13, dropping eight of its 14 Ivy bouts along the way, but Allen is confident that his team will bounce back this season. The Quakers have called the Palestra home since it opened in 1927, and they currently have the third-most victories (803) nationally of any team in one building.
The usually defensive-minded Owls showed a different side to their game last season, as they averaged 72.2 points, while yielding 67.9 ppg, that latter figure ranking them in the bottom half of the A-10 standings. A return to stingier times may be in order however, as Dunphy seeks a suitable replacement for last year's A-10 scoring champion Khalif Wyatt (20.5 ppg). In all, the Owls must figure out a way to overcome a loss of 73 percent of last season's offensive production, and that process will involve guys like junior Will Cummings (5.8 ppg, 1.8 apg, 1.4 spg) and senior Dalton Pepper (2.9 ppg). Others who will need to elevate their effort include Quenton DeCosey (1.9 ppg), who led the team in scoring on its recent trip to Europe, and Anthony Lee (9.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg), a decent two-way performer who will need to perform even better as Temple hopes to make some noise in a league that presently boasts outstanding teams like Louisville (defending national champs), Memphis and Connecticut.
The Quakers haven't had the kind of success under Allen they experienced with Dunphy, but that's not to say there isn't talent on the roster. All five starters return this season, and while some may view that as a negative considering the team won only nine games in 2012-13, others believe that the experience gained will be invaluable. Senior Miles Jackson-Cartwright (13.5 ppg, 3.8 apg) is expected to be the club's anchor, as the bulk of the offense is likely to run through him. Fran Dougherty (13.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg) should add to the mix, but he appeared in only a dozen games last season due to injury. At 6-foot-11, Darien Nelson-Henry (7.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg) will help clog the middle, while guards Tony Hicks (10.4 ppg) and Jamal Lewis (3.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg) round out the starting five. Henry Brooks, Jr. (6.5 ppg) is another guy who could prove to be a valuable piece to the puzzle for Penn, which will need to play well at both ends of the floor today, and all season long in what should be a very competitive Ivy League.
This should be a good early test for both squads, and while technically a road game for the Owls, they will get off on the right foot with a hard-fought victory against a long-time rival.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 67, Penn 60
11/09 10:31:14 ET