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Smilin' Joe Fission

Any A10 Fans Here?

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I just discovered this section of the forums.  I definitely expected there to be a lot of Terp fans, but was wondering who else we have here.  I've been so wrapped up in the college season I haven't paid much attention to the O's offseason and spring training so far.  Sad this is the last week of the regular season.

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I remember when the Temple Owls handed my beloved North Carolina Tar Heels their heads IN CHAPEL HILL, on national television when Marc Macon was a freshman in the 1987-88 season.

Temple eventually became the #1 team in the country going into the NCAA tournament that season, and made it to the Elite Eight before being upset by Duke. Danny Ferry was a junior that season, and they beat North Carolina 3 times that year ........ twice in the regular season, and a 3rd time in the ACC championship game.


The following season in 1988-89, Temple was not quite as good, although I believe that they were robbed in the conference semifinals against Rutgers when a Scarlet Knights player missed the front end of a one-and-one in the waning moments of the 2nd half, but Temple was called for a lane violation. Given a second chance, the Rutgers shooter then made the next 2 free throws, Temple lost the game, and were subsequently left out of the NCAA tournament while riding the bubble. Rutgers then beat Penn State in the A-10 championship game, claiming their first NCAA bid since 1983.


In 1990, Temple won their conference tournament to secure an NCAA tournament berth, and lost their first game.


In 1991, the Owls came full circle ........ Marc Macon, who was a freshman phenom on the juggernaut 1987-88 team, was now a senior ........ and once again, they made the Elite Eight of the tournament that season. Macon missed a 3-point field goal attempt at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime, and Temple once again fell one game short of reaching the Final Four.


I remember the 1993 Temple team, because they lost to UMASS 3 times that year (just like North Carolina lost 3 times to Duke in 1988) ........ however, they again made it all the way to the Elite Eight while UMASS went home after losing in the 2nd round.


The Owls made it to the Elite Eight twice more in 1999 and 2001, giving them 5 such distinctions in coach John Chaney's tenure ........ an incredible feat to me, considering that he was coaching a Mid-Major.


I'm always more impressed when the Mid-Majors make a deep run into the NCAA tournament that when perennial powerhouses do, such as North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Marquette, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Georgetown, Syracuse, etc. If you are coaching at one of those perennial powerhouses, half of your recruiting is essentially done for you ........ you don't have to do much convincing to the top-50 or top-100 high school seniors to come to such places, because with their rich histories, that is what almost all of them dream of since they started playing the game. At the Mid-Majors, you basically have to accept that you are not going to get any of those players (with perhaps a very few rare exceptions), and simply take the best of what is left over. So to me, a Mid-Major making it to the Sweet Sixteen is essentially the equivalent of the perennial powerhouses making it to the Final Four. And when a George Mason or a Virginia Commonwealth make it to the Final Four, that is (to me) the equivalent of the perennial powerhouses winning a national championship. 


All these years later since the period in which I cited (1988 through 2001), some of the "Mid-Major vs. Major" picture is more blurred than it was at that time ........ you have Majors like Gonzaga playing in a Mid-Major conference in the WCC  ........ and you have teams like Butler, a Mid-Major whom is playing in a Major conference in the Big East, although with their back-to-back trips to the national championship game fairly recently, they are almost a Major themselves (like Gonzaga, a former Mid-Major who  played themselves into being a bonafide Major over the last 2 decades.) And then you have conferences which are kind of a mix between Majors and Mid-Majors, like the American Athletic Conference.

Hence, I don't believe that fans of Mid-Majors should feel insulted when being referred to as such ........ in fact, I see it as quite the opposite. Because of the fact that the Majors have almost all of the advantages in the recruiting of the top high school seniors, teams like John Chaney's Temple Owls, the 2005-06 George Mason team, and the 2010-11 VCU team ought to wear that title/categorization proudly as a badge of honor, as they stood toe-to-toe with the big boys while at a significant disadvantage.



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