Easier Road

After tonight's game at defending national champion and seventh-ranked Louisville, the fifth straight against ranked opposition, Temple has a favorable final three games. It's hard to believe for a team which has won just two games this calendar year, but it's not impossible considering their competitiveness of late that the Owls could finish the regular season on a three-game winning streak.

After tonight's game at defending national champion and seventh-ranked Louisville, the fifth straight against ranked opposition, Temple has a favorable final three games of the season.

It's hard to believe for a team which has won just two games this calendar year, but it's not impossible considering their competitiveness of late that the Owls could finish the regular-season on a three-game winning streak.

After the game against the Cardinals, the Owls host Houston and Central Florida before ending at South Florida. Houston is sixth in the 10-team American Athletic Conference with a 5-9 mark and 13-14 overall, while the Florida schools are eighth and ninth – a combined 6-24 in league - right ahead of 2-12 Temple.

What would a three-game winning streak mean?

Well, double-digit wins for the 7-19 Owls which would be mild consolation for what has been a terrible year. Also a 5-13 league record, which does send a lot better than 2-16, and considering it's the first year in a new league nobody wants to bring up the rear.

Finally a chance to move up in the AAC standings before the conference tournament but probably not far enough to avoid the first-round games.

There probably isn't much preference for the Owls whether they meet Rutgers, South Florida or Central Florida in that first-round game. All those teams are comparable to the Owls and each other.

There could be a reason to root for a possible quarterfinal matchup with Cincinnati, which the Owls threw a couple scares into, particularly at the Liacouras Center in a game that came down to the last 10 seconds. They also played Memphis tough twice and beat SMU once.

Louisville and Connecticut would seem to be the teams to avoid, though the Owls were routed by SMU in Texas before earning revenge in the rematch. We'll see what happens tonight in Round 2 against the Cardinals, who won handily in Philadelphia.

Temple had a similar chance to start the conference schedule on a winning streak with Rutgers and the two Florida schools. It botched that opportunity, losing all three games.

Can the Owls finish strong and if so what would it mean? It's almost impossible to paint a scenario that finds Temple in a conference final - Rutgers, Cincinnati, Memphis would be the best matchups, but still an unlikely road.

Temple loses just one senior, so momentum for next year would help. Also finishing seventh instead of 10th and winning 11 games instead of seven could make the sales pitch a little easier in recruiting.

The Owls have shown they can compete in the AAC. They haven't yet shown they can win – and that chance is still out there for them.

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