By Annie Ross
Temple was eliminated in its conference tourney over the weekend, so the Owls will take their 17-15 record into the NIT Wednesday night at Penn State.
The Owls are the No. 5 seed in their eight-team portion of the NIT bracket. Penn State (21-13) is the 4-seed, with the winner of the opening round game slotted to play top seed Notre Dame or 8-seed Hampton in the second round.
“I know that (Penn State Coach) Patrick Chambers made a special move to make that happen as best as he possibly could,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “They worked hard at it. And most of the guys that he recruited, we also recruited. And I feel really good about how we recruit, and how we go about doing what we do. And nobody will be as sincere and honest and as to the point in recruiting as Temple will be.”
Dunphy said he sent his players home after their late-night flight home from Orlando after losing to Wichita State in the AAC quarterfinals on Friday night.
“We’re excited to be in the NIT field,” Dunphy said. “Watching the teams that came across the screen, it’s a terrific field with a lot of good teams, and I’m sure some of them probably feel slighted for not getting picked for the NCAA Tournament.”
The NIT will employ several experimental rules, including a slightly longer three-point line (matching the international distance), a wider lane (matching the NBA lane), and four 10-minute quarters. And with the game broken up into quarters, there won’t be any 1-and-1 free throws. Teams will get two free throws on the fifth foul in each quarter.
Temple last played Penn State in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, beating the Nittany Lions in a memorable first round game in Tucson, Ariz. Chambers took charge at Penn State the following season. This is his first trip to the NIT. The Nittany Lions haven’t made the NCAA Tournament during his seven-year tenure.