Team of the Moment: Temple
21-12 (11-5 Atlantic 10)
Computer numbers (through Friday courtesy of kenpom.com): RPI 56, SOS 49
Result today: Defeated St. Joseph's 69-64 to win the Atlantic 10 Championship.
The Temple Owls, a mere afterthought in all this bubble talk the past few weeks, have punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with tonight's win over Big 5 rival St. Joseph's to win the Atlantic 10. Dionte Christmas led Fran Dunphy's Owls with 22 points, and guards Chris Clark (10 points) and Ryan Brooks (15 points) made up for the subpar offensive night experienced by Mark Tyndale (1-8 from the field, 8 points). But Tyndale's complete stat line seems to be a microcosm of what the Owls have done during their last twelve games (10-2 record) to get to this point: whatever it takes. Tyndale finished with nine rebounds and seven assists, and Temple went 9-18 from behind the arc while holding the Hawks to 5-21 from distance.
Now that they're in, the question regards city rival St. Joe's: are they suddenly on the outside looking in? In my opinion, they're currently one of the 34 best at-large teams in the country. But I'm not in that room. The Hawks will have a long 21 hours ahead of them.
On the clock: UNLV. One at-large bid could now be off the table thanks to Temple, so the Runnin' Rebels would be best served to knock off BYU in the Mountain West final. They currently lead 50-47 with about ten minutes remaining.