IF TEMPLE BEATS BELMONT IN PLAY-IN, OWLS FACE MARYLAND!

By Peter Gleason

As ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi predicted:

Temple will face Belmont in an NCAA Tournament play-in game tomorrow night in Dayton at approximately 9:10 p.m.

The Owls (23-9, 13-5 American Athletic Conference) earned an at-large bid to make their first NCAA appearance since the 2015-16 season.

This will be the first matchup between Temple and Belmont in the two programs’ histories. The two make the tournament as No. 11 seeds.

If Temple beats Belmont (26-5, 16-2 Ohio Valley Conference), it will play the University of Maryland (22-10, 13-7 Atlantic Coastal Conference) on Thursday in Jacksonville.

Coach Fran Dunphy will make his 17th-career tournament appearance in his final season as the Owls’ coach. His 17 appearances ties former Temple coach John Chaney for the most of any Big 5 coach. Dunphy has a career 3-16 record in the NCAA Tournament during his career at Penn and Temple.

Belmont lost in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game against Murray State University on Saturday but received an at-large bid. The Bruins are currently ranked 47th in the NCAA Evaluation Tool rankings. Belmont is 2-2 in Quadrant I games, while Temple is 2-6.

Temple enters the tournament coming off an 80-74 loss to Wichita State in The American’s postseason tournament quarterfinals.

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