A-10 Schedule is A-OK

Depending on your point of view, Temple will face a very favorable or a very unfavorable Atlantic 10 schedule during the 2007-08 campaign. On Thursday, the Owls released their complete schedule, highlighted by home games versus Duke and Villanova and road trips to Tennessee and Florida. But the A-10 slate offers the most interesting possibilities.

Depending on your point of view, the Temple men's basketball team will face a very favorable or a very unfavorable Atlantic 10 schedule during the 2007-08 campaign.

On Thursday, the Owls released their complete schedule, which is highlighted by home games versus Duke and Villanova and road trips to Tennessee and Florida. But the A-10 slate offers the most interesting possibilities.

How many games will the Owls win in Coach Fran Dunphy's second year? Last year, they went 6-7 in non-conference games and 6-10 in the A-10, then lost to St. Joseph's in the A-10 tournament to finish 12-18.

This year's non-conference schedule is definitely tougher than a year ago. Five opponents are the same – Duke, Villanova, Penn, Drexel, and Towson – and the Owls will once again play four MAC foes (Akron, Bowling Green, Ohio, and Eastern Michigan).

So what's the difference?

Essentially, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Long Beach State, and Lafayette have been replaced by Florida, Tennessee, Providence, and two more opponents in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic. That's a serious upgrade, especially since none of this year's replacement games are at home.

Frankly, the Owls will be hard-pressed to improve upon last year's non-conference record, no matter how much better they are. There are simply too many pothole road games, not to mention the difficulty in beating Duke or Villanova at any venue.

Conversely, the A-10 schedule offers a huge opportunity for improvement. At first glance, it seems that Dunphy couldn't have asked for a more favorable setup.

The only negative is that the Owls will have to play two games against St. Joe's, Fordham, and Charlotte. They'll play everyone else once. Considering that Temple finished tied for 10th place last year, and home-and-home matchups are now based on how you finish as well as what's expected of you, the Owls received no favoritism in drawing two probable top five picks (St. Joe's and Fordham). Why not St. Bonaventure?

But the Owls couldn't have fared any better in picking their home and away matchups.

In addition to Charlotte, Temple will visit Richmond, St. Bonaventure, and La Salle. Those are four very winnable road games. Meanwhile, each of the top teams in the league – Xavier, George Washington, Rhode Island, UMass, St. Joe's, and Fordham – will be coming to The Liacouras Center.

So, if the Owls are able to defend their homecourt, and steal a few road wins from the league's bottom feeders, they could be on their way to a double-digit A-10 win total – even if they aren't dramatically better than last year.

Then again, they could be looking at a lot of close losses if they can't get the job done at home against the A-10's best. Maybe they would be better off playing the tough teams on the road and the weak teams at home.

Or maybe this whole discussion is a case of over-analysis. If the Owls are better, they'll win more games. After a 12-18 finish last year, they better be.

For Temple's complete 2007-08 schedule, CLICK HERE.

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