As of Thursday afternoon, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks have officially been added to the Temple men’s basketball team’s 2017-2018 schedule, joining what was already a tough schedule of top division 1 programs. The Owls play South Carolina at a neutral site, the Madison Square Garden, on November 30 in the Under Armour Reunion. The time has not yet been released, but the official tip off time and the network that will air the game are expected to be announced sometime next week.
Last year, many watched as the University of South Carolina Women and Men’s basketball programs made historical runs in the NCAA tournament. The women won the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. On the men‘s side, they also accomplished a program first, reaching the final four for the first time ever.
This season, the final four team faces off with Temple in the regular season. What better test for the Owls than to play a top program in one of the most notable basketball arenas throughout the country? Head Coach Fran Dunphy is looking forward to the task and his players most likely ae too. They have no choice but to be up for the tall task, as the Gamecocks are one of three teams on Temple’s schedule that appeared in an NCAA Final Four over the last four years. To make it even better, they play all three of those opponents within the first month of the season. The home opener is against Wisconsin, who appeared in both the 2014 and 2015 final four (Dec. 6). They later play 2015 NCAA Champions Villanova (Dec. 13), plus the November game versus South Carolina. As always, the Owls also play some early tournaments including the BB & T Classic and the Charleston Classic.
In those tournaments and other nonconference games, Temple has some other tough opponents including Dayton, Clemson, and Georgia, all who played in either the NCAA or NIT tournament last year. Philadelphia teams La Salle, Drexel, and St. Joseph’s always have the ability to be tough playing another Big 5, Philly school. Looking at the schedule in September before the season starts, it seems like it will definitely be a good balance of competition in their nonleague schedule as they prepare for 18 games in the American Conference and hopefully a successful postseason run that gets them past the first round of the AAC Tournament. The Owls finished at .500 last year with a 16-16 record in which they were knocked out in the first round by East Carolina, 80-69.
This year, the squad returns three double figure scorers from last year, senior Obi Enechionyia, Junior Shizz Alston, Jr., and Sophomore Quinton Rose. Temple’s roster also features some talented incoming player as well as other returning players that are expected to step up into bigger roles this season.
For now, all the Owls can do is prepare as their first game is scheduled for November 16th against Old Dominion in the Charleston Classic. The full schedule for Temple is posted online with a few times and opponents for tournaments still pending.