And I thought the big news this week was Juan Fernandez’s haircut…
On Satuday, the Owls won their tenth consecutive game against Duquesne. On Sunday, we still commanded first place of the A-10.
This morning, I woke up and turned on my laptop, angrily refreshing the ESPN page holding the college basketball rankings. Temple garnered their first top-25 ranking of the season in the CBSSports poll at 24. It was exciting news, a sign that finally, the Owls are getting some national recognition. While the CBSSports poll was great news, I was still waiting on the two major rankings to be published for the week: the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll and the AP Top-25.
Today, while waiting for Sociology of Sports to begin, I read a tweet from Philadelphia Inquirer Owls’ beat writer Keith Pompey naming Fernandez as the Big Five player of the week. A well-deserved honor, his 20pts and 400-career assists mark definitely helped make his case this week. My mom attributed the award to his new haircut. If the voters think anything like me, it probably didn’t hurt.
As I came in to work the front desk of the Welcome Center, I pulled up ESPN immediately on the computer, and quickly scanned the 24th and 25th ranked teams on the ESPN/USA Today poll. I’m pretty sure you don’t spell “Temple” as “Indiana” or “San Diego State,” so I looked in the other unranked teams recieving votes. I couldn’t find Temple in there, either. All I wanted was to just crack into the rankings. Could it be we were higher than 24th?
22nd. The Temple Owls are now the 22nd-ranked team in the country. And I couldn’t be prouder. We may not get a ton of national attention, but we’ve certainly earned it. Later in the day, the AP poll was published, and again sat the Owls at 22nd. For the third straight season, the Owls have cracked the top-25 and this year, it couldn’t have come at a better time in the season. It’s not about what you do in December. It’s about how healthy you are and how hot you are at the end of February. With important games this week at Big Five rivals La Salle and St. Joe’s, it’s important we keep perspective, keep healthy, and keep the wins coming.
#IBelieveThatWeAreRanked became a trending tweet in the Temple community and the pride for this team is swelling. March Madness is right around the corner. We may not be the biggest basketball program in the country, but we’ve got the biggest heart. People don’t always give the scrappy kids from North Philly credit. But I’ll take the kids with the North Philly heart over those McDonald’s All-Americans any day of the week. Get ready, Owls. It’s February 20th, and that means March Madness is almost here. And when it does, the Owls’ll be ranked. Watch out.