Mar 10, 2010

Temple Left As Only Philly Team In A-10 Tourney

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With the annual Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball tournament commencing this weekend at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City there is only one team left representing Philadelphia, reigning champions the Owls of Temple University. The Owls are sitting with the #1 seen in the tourney and with that had a bye in the first round.

Temple is having a stellar season and is currently the #17 team in the nation according to the AP Top 25. With all this attention being paid to Temple it was easy to lose track of the stories from the other Philly A-10 teams. The Hawks of St. Josephs exited in the first round of the tournament last night as they fell to Rhode Island 87-76 and a lackluster campaign for the La Salle Explorers kept them from postseason play.

The Hawks have been going through a bit of a tough rebuilding process since their back to back title in 2005 and 06. The magical teams of Jameer Nelson and Delonte West are no more for the Hawks that struggled throughout this season.

The Hawks exited early in the first round of the tourney to the Rams of Rhode Island and even with the 11 point loss played like a team without balance. The 2009-10 version of the Hawks suffered from lackluster offensive production as they only had three players averaging more then 10 points a game.
The leader for St. Josephs was guard Darrin Govens. The Chester native was a two time Big 5 player of the week and consistently averaged over 10 points a game.

St. Josephs ranked second to last in the A-10 this season and need to spend the off season balancing out a group of young talent that could help them rebound next season.

Every few years a team has a season that they hope to soon forget. Just as North Carolina and UConn are having one of those season, so did the Explorers. La Salle ended their season losing nine of their final 10 games and failed to have a defining win for their season. They ended the season at the bottom of the Atlantic 10 and averaged a sub par 70.1 points a game.

The team did have a high point with the play of senior guard Rodney Green. The Prep Charter grad not only averaged over 18 points and five rebounds a game (third the in the A-10) but he was named First Team All Atlantic 10 by The Sporting News.

"Rodney has always been an explosive athlete but he has become a truly outstanding player by improving his shooting, decision making and defense. He is one of the biggest and best point guards not only in the A-10 but nationally." - Head Coach Dr. John Giannini

The Explorers failed to make the tourney and will hopefully spend the off season trying to fill the holes facing the team with the losses of Green and forward Kimmani Barrett. Barrett averaged over 13 points a game.

This is surely a season to remember for Fran Dunphy's Owls. Not only is the team looking to claim their third straight Atlantic 10 title but they have guaranteed themselves a bid in the NCAA tournament with the #17 national ranking.

With season defining wins over cross town rival Villanova and convincing wins over both Seton Hall and Virginia Tech the Owls have shown the nation that they could be one of the surprise teams in the NCAA tournament. Based on bracketologist Joe Lunardi the Owls currently sit with a 5 seed.

Temple is led by a duo of upperclassmen in senior Ryan Brooks and junior Lavoy Allen. Both local products (Brooks, Lower Merion; Allen, Pennsbury) are averaging over 10 points a game and Allen is averaging a double-double with 11 points and over 10 boards.

The duo is being helped by sophomore Juan Fernandez. The 6-4 Argentinian sophomore is averaging 12.2 points and leads the team with 105 assists a game.

With the play from this trio and a strong supporting cast of bench players Temple could make a deep run. After clinching the #1 seed and getting the first round bye the Owls will begin their Atlantic-10 tournament play Friday at noon as they take on the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure. In their last meeting Temple dominated the Bonnies 75-55 on February 17th.

Xavier forward and Abington native Jason Love is averaging 11 points and eight boards for the Musketeers. Xavier has the #2 seen the the tournament and will face Dayton on Friday at 6:30 p.m...

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