Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Temple 2005-2006
Go to War and We Aint Making a Dime...

The Owls are off to a 2-1 start this season. Fallen are the good old boys at Army and Miami and UCLA is currently playing the spoilers to what was to be the perfect season. (!)

I am gonna take a look at this years schedule and make some predictions about where I see the see the Owls landing… Without further ado, lets go!

I expect wins at Rutgers, Penn and against Princeton. Any true TU fan can recall the days when these teams would whimper at the feet of Chaney and his crew but the reality is these teams have given Temple problems in the past couple years. Rutgers has owned Temple and play them extra tough at home. I think the game should be won by the Owls and if this team is gonna do anything this season they are going to have to dig in against a squad like the Scarlet Knights.

One of the worst beat downs I ever witnessed as an Owls fan came at the hands of Penn at the Palestra. Penn connected on what seemed like every three they attempted while the UPENN student section browbeat the Owls with signs like, “In the morning we’ll be sober, but you’ll still be going to Temple.” Rough game. Rough night. Last year Temple took care of Penn with relative ease but those guys know how to pick at the zone and if they hit their three balls they will give us problems. I still predict a win, even though the game takes us back to the Palestra… Fuck it. I am gonna call this a revenge game. Mardy and ‘Twayne should remember that beating, it was their freshmen year.

Heading into Princeton shouldn’t be tough but the motion and the discipline shown by these Ivy League teams seems to keep them in the game against Temple. Its funny but when the Owls play a big-time program I feel confident they may be baffled by the zone but a smaller school I feel will be more prepared. This is definitely the case with Princeton. Last year at home we needed a non-goaltending call at the buzzer to escape with the victory. I’m hoping for an easier time this season.

So this would put the boys at 5-1 on the year and have them off to their best start since I can recall… The rest of the season the non-conference schedule will be tough. I think the Owls get wins against South Carolina, Auburn, and Alabama. I see them losing to Duke at the Wachovia. I could sit here and bitch about Duke not playing Temple at the Liacorous Center, but I can’t see them winning that game. Coach K wont sleep on TU and I think the young bol McRoberts will present matchup problems as well as the Sherriff aka Sheldon Williams, but look for the Owls to hang tough with the Blue Devils. I also see that game as an important one for Mardy’s draft status. Last year the games against Wake and Duke helped him tremendously and this season with the eyes already on him he will need some nice numbers not only to keep Temple in the game but to help him out for next June.

The Maryland game is tough to call. I expected a win last season and was disappointed with the effort given. I am leaning towards a loss just because of the way last years game went. Temple wasn’t even close to matching Maryland’s intensity level. Hopefully the home crowd will swing things in the Owls favor... And what was up with Caner-Medley going off against TU? They need to put the clamps on that bol, he is suspect.

I think ‘Nova will be a loss. We beat them last year by one in what turned out to be the biggest win of the season for the Owls and clearly Butler's best game of last season. They wont forget that, especially with the hype around the big 5 in the Philadelphia area.

So I have the Owls finishing at 19-9 This is a bit bold, I admit but I think we will split with St. Joes and I don’t see many stupid loses within the A-10. I have GW taking us out at their place, as well as Charlotte simple because I think Withers is gonna present matchup problems and they can shoot the ball extremely well. I don’t see La Salle, UMass, Richmond or Dayton presenting much of a problem. Fordham caught us at their place last year and that wont happen again.

I can’t see far enough into the future to call whether or not we can win the A-10. Lemme just go on record saying I am betting on the Owls and I think that’s a decent wager. GW is tough but they aren’t a goliath. St. Joes plays us well but we’re due and fuck the past ‘cause the goon thing changed everything anyway…. I am gonna predict a return to the tournament this year but lets wait till it get closer to March to reveal how much damage can be done against the 64 other winners… Fuck the haters, go Owls and B EZ

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Salmons Watches the Owls Knockoff the U.

Nice win for the Temple Men today... they knocked off the boys from Miami on a Sunday afternoon at the LIA center in big bad North Philadelphia.

The Owls were on point in a must win game so early in the season. Must win!? You scoff do you? Well please consider the road ahead. Things are gonna get a lot worse down the line and if the boys can’t take car of the U at home then we got some issues when we face Duke, Maryland, ‘Bama, and ‘Nova.

Miami isn't the team they once were, I'm sure the Hurricanes were looking in the direction of alumnus and current 76er Johhny Salmons who was at ringside to cheer on his 'Canes. Fall back. My man John plays for Philly now and truth be told he is closer to the Owls (NBA version of Mardy Mardy Mardy) then a Hurricane...

Ah, the game itself... The Owls used a barrage of long range jumpers to get outta the gate early and were boosted by the rare scoring punch of Twizzy (Antwayne) who dropped a barrage of treys on Miami. He was looking good from the gate and stayed aggressive. The shots were falling and he musta shot in the high 60-70 range from the field... F a box score…

Mardy had a coolish first half but it paid off in the end because he got his homies in the game (I see you Dustin) and took over down the stretch. He definitely got the better of Guillermo Diaz (Miami PG) who is also touted as a first round pick next year.

After the Owls squandered a 16 point lead giving the 'Canes some life down the stretch Mardy reminded the fellas from the U that they were on North Broad. He hit a string of buckets from distance, got to the stripe and sealed the game with a gorgeous crossover to the middle of the lane finishing with a tomahawk dunk. I’m not sure if it was cause I was near courtside for the game and the play happened on my end of the court but from where I sat it ranked up there with the best moves I have seen by an Owl. Could be a perspective thing though.

This all took place when the U coaching staff noticed their smaller guards were having trouble with #25. They switched their PF on Mardy, after he took off two steps inside the free throw line with that same PF left back at the three I think the coach felt the need for another adjustment...

Shoutout to Coach Chaney who stopped the game late in the second half to address the Temple fans who were apparently throwing things onto the court... "STUPID IS FOREVER" Chaney barked... as well as, "THAT KINDA BEHAVIOR IS SIMPLE NOT THE TEMPLE WAY!" The speech brought smiles and thunderous applause...

Notes: Mark Tyndale has some of the most boisterous fans outside of football leagues in Europe who wont hesitate to let oppossing players know they don't appreciate hard fouls on Mark. Salisberry looked real good today and took minutes from Dionte Christmas who was definitely wearing the original color way Jordan 5's. I see him carrying on the Mike Jordan torch for the Owls. Alex Wesby always kept some fresh J's on his feet. Johhny Salmons looked uninterested the entire game. Big Anthony Ivory started for the Owls and it appears he has real trouble leaving the floor, his conditioning is going to have to improve to be a factor this season. Something has gotten into Antwayne, on one fast break he was actually DEMANDING the ball from Mardy, we'll see if that keeps up. Anyway, good win for the Owls against a team they should beat but in years past it’s these games that have hurt them down the stretch.....

My name is Mardy, last name Collins...

For whatever reason I waited until now to preview the 2005-2006 Temple Owls. Perhaps this is due to my workload but more then likely it was a nice excuse to take a look at the team in action, take a few notes, and draw some conclusions using broad strokes. I am gonna begin this post with a short review of the personnel we got and hit it up later with how I see the season turning out… Boom!

Coach Chaney is the type of leader who likes to keep his lineup tight and his rotation thin. A Temple team that uses more then 8 guys is fairly rare but this could be the case this year judging by the lack of a true center. Wayne Marshall would be holding down the middle for the Owls but he has apparently caught the same affliction that took the life of Jason Collier and caused the exodus of E-City from Chicago. His status is unknown and as far as how long he will be out depends on his medical clearance. Of course its worth noting that more then likely he isn’t running and keeping in shape if he has heart concerns so I don’t see a major contribution from Wayne this season. I can’t tell you how many people told me that Marshall was going to be a one and done guy. That seems a little far fetched at this point but lets hope he gets it straightened out because the Owls need some help in the middle and Wayne can get some buckets as well.

Assuming Wayne is done that leaves the center by committee to Sergio Olmos, Nehemiah Ingram, Dion Dacons, Anthony Ivory and perhaps Antwayne Robinson. Out of that bunch Robinson could be most effective because he is long and athletic but his rebounding has been an issue in the past and Chaney hasn’t been shy about reminding him by sitting him down as a result. If ‘Twayne could find a way to control the glass or at least hold down the middle that would allow the Owls to play Dionte Christmas and Dustin Salisberry together with Mardy Collins at the two and Tyndale at the one.

But lets keep in mind this is Coach Chaney and that old dog doesn’t like new tricks. So far Chaney has been starting Ivory but the huge freshman is out of shape and although he posts up strong on the block he has trouble moving from side to side and seems limited within the zone and on the glass. When Ivory runs out of gas or gets in foul trouble Chaney will most likely go with Dacons or Ingram. Dacons stands about 6’6 and although he is tough as hell and uses his size well there’s not much to go around. Ingram has the size but seems to lack the toughness of Dacons. Coming off a stint with the football team we’ll see what he can contribute. In one game against the Hurricanes he looked slow to the ball and a little lost in limited minutes. Of course he has reached iconic status with the Owl faithful for the whole “Goon” incident. Perhaps this could serve as a needed lift for a guy who hasn’t done much outside that media circus.

Sergio has also got some minutes early in the year. He is rail thin but plays hard. His height can’t be taught but apparently his frame isn’t taking to the whole weight gain concept. I still like the spark he gives and the effort is unquestionable in the few minutes he has played. Against UCLA he had a decent up and under move as well as an offensive rebound. He gets a lot of fouls but they are usually loose ball or over the back calls which you can’t bitch about as a coach watching an undersized freshmen. In the game against Army he was working so hard to front the cutters coming into the lane. It was a sight to see but he was effective. Of course, it was Army and their tallest guy was about 6’6.

Chaney is placing Tyndale at the one so far this season. Mark is slow with the ball and careful. Obviously weary of turnovers and new to the position this will take time but it will also keep him from gunning every chance he gets and give Mardy a chance to do his thing within the offense. I’m still a little skeptical of this move. I feel Mardy is good enough to get his at the point guard position and is unselfish enough to distribute the ball to the other guys. Once in their offensive set the Owls like to spread the floor and work the ball along the perimeter and into Antwayne at the high post so the point guard duties became irrelevant. As long as Tyndale can eliminate careless turnovers and setup the offense I suppose this will do. I’m sure Mardy had to ok this transition to some degree and I would look for him to take over some point guard duties late in a close game... Tyndale's growth as a player and a leader will be a key for the Owl's this year.

A position battle is bound to develop between true freshmen Dionte Christmas and junior Dustin Salisberry. Mark and Mardy are in the good graces of Chaney and wont see the bench for more then a rest at any point in a game. Despite his trouble on the glass Chaney needs Antwayne on the floor as well as the center by committee to fill the five spot. This leaves another swingmen position open for these two to gut it out over. Christmas is the new guy and Salisberry has been up and down in his career at TU. I think this will be a changing spot in the rotation throughout the year with the hot hand getting the minutes while the other guard scowls from the bench. Of course if the strategy discussed above with ‘Twayne at the five goes into effect all is good and you would see Mark, Mardy, Dionte, Dustin and ‘Twayne on the floor for the Owls.

With Mardy and Mark in the backcourt I don’t see much time for Chris Clark. He looks like a decent point guard but size will always be an issue with him and he isn’t blazing fast like a lot of smaller point guards that make it work. Also, judging by the recruits the Owls brought in for next year he hasn’t done enough to ever receive a vote of confidence from Coach Chaney.
Camden product Semaj Inge is another highly touted recruit but what got into the youngin against Army? He looked STD on the court (Scared to Death) and airballed on at least two attempts. To early to call him Nile Murry (Who turned out to be a tough player for TCU btw) but I would be pleased to see a stronger performance from a kid who was supposed to make an immediate impact. He is from Camden though, so he has been through it no doubt and as long as he survives the initial browbeatings from Chaney will be just fine.

DaShone Kirkendoll needs some time to show people he can do more then just hit threes. He has to prove it to me as well but he is clutch from downtown and hits some big shots. He stuck a big one against UCLA and who can forget that tough shot last year against Wake? He doesn’t see much time in the rotation though and its not looking good with Dionte and Samaj in the mix. One thing about Kirkendoll this year is that you can tell he understands he needs more opportunities. Take the game against Miami for example. He hits his first three and then a few trips down the court fires another one. It was a bad shot and a bad miss. I think he takes that shot because he wants to make the most of his time in the game and get his. I’m not calling him selfish, I think its smart, he just realizes he needs to make an impact to see more minutes. Of course he was yanked after taking the poor jumper.

Next time I will have some predictions based on the schedule and game recaps. I am gonna skip the NIT tournament coverage but lemme touch on it briefly. Army might as well have been an intermural team. They made the Owls look like UNC last year if you added Carter and Jordan to that stacked roster. They had 12 points at the half. The UCLA game displayed everything that is wrong with Temple's offense and they were hurt on the glass. The zone was effective but of course production was a problem and Mardy didn't have one of his best games.... That was then and this is now... CHECK IT!