I am going to try my best to follow Rule 7 of the 800 Game Project, but when Temple beats Villanova by 11, it's hard not walk out of the arena with a big grin on your face.
This game was not very exciting. Other than Ramone Moore dropping 32 points, it wasn't played particularly well either. But Temple won, and I didn't have to listen to my dad "trash talk" Nova fans, so it's really like two wins for me today. After the perceived snub of not getting invited to the Big East, we all walked out of the Liacouras Center with an even bigger smile than usual.
After all of the behind-the-scenes (read: out-in-the-open) maneuvering of the Big East Conference realignment, it stung to see teams west of the Mississippi with horrible basketball programs get the invite. After building up a respectable football team and continuing a good stretch of basketball, it wounds the pride to be left out of the conversation. With Villanova peering down their noses, Temple never had a chance to make the jump across the Red Line.
After feeling the atmosphere in the building today, I think my father has a point when he claims he would tell the Big East to "pound sand" if it came calling for the Owls. It's much more entertaining to hold up snarky signs in the student section, such as the one quoted for the title of this recap, or to tell people wearing a V to "go back to the Main Line" than it is to become one of the cool kids. Temple fans need that edge in their chants, like a player looking to draw contact every time he touches the ball in the paint. Being able to stick it to the "Big Least" and being the Anti-Nova is part of what makes this rivalry important.
This is the first year in more than a decade that my father has gotten Owls season tickets, so I'm looking forward to getting used to everything "new" at the Liacouras Center. Temple called McGonigle Hall home when I was a kid and they still played Big Five games at the Palestra back then, so whenever I think of college basketball, I think of my father and me folding ourselves into the little crevices we had for seats in between smelly old men. While I'll get used to the extra space, I don't think Temple fans would get used to the Big East. Fortunately, that existential crises won't happen any time soon.
at TEMPLE 78, VILLANOVA 67 12/10/2011
VILLANOVA 5-4 (0-0) -- M. Wayns 7-17 9-13 23; D. Cheek 3-10 2-3 10; J. Bell 2-3 0-0 4; D. Hilliard 0-8 0-0 0; M. Yarou 6-11 2-2 14; J. Pinkston 3-4 1-3 8; A. Yacoubou 1-2 2-2 4; M. Kennedy 2-4 0-1 4; T. Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-59 16-24 67. TEMPLE 6-2 (0-0) -- J. Fernandez 3-10 0-0 6; R. Hollis-Jefferson 5-8 1-3 11; R. Moore 8-21 14-15 32; K. Wyatt 6-14 0-0 13; A. Lee 3-4 0-2 6; A. Brown 2-4 2-2 7; T. DiLeo 1-2 1-2 3; W. Cummings 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-64 18-24 78.
Three-point goals: NOVA 3-20 (D. Cheek 2-8; M. Wayns 0-5; J. Bell 0-1; J. Pinkston 1-1; D. Hilliard 0-5), TU 4-17 (R. Moore 2-6; T. DiLeo 0-1; J. Fernandez 0-2; K. Wyatt 1-5; A. Brown 1-2; W. Cummings 0-1); Rebounds: NOVA 34 (M. Yarou 8), TU 36 (R. Jefferson 14); Assists: NOVA 9 (M. Wayns 7), TU 11 (J. Fernandez 4); Total Fouls -- NOVA 21, TU 19; Fouled Out: NOVA-None; TU-A. Lee.