Introduction seems unnecessary considering this is an introduction, so here's what tonight's Temple-La Salle game (7 p.m. / CBS Sports) has working in its favor:
1. The Big 5 Title
La Salle (18-6, 8-3, 3-0) is guaranteed at least a share of the championship, which it has not held since 1998 and hasn't won outright since 1990. Temple (17-8, 6-5, 2-1) is looking to win or share the title for the 27th time overall and third time in the last four seasons. La Salle has won the title the fewest times of any team (10) dating back to the group's formation in 1955.
2. The Battle for the A-10 POTY Award
Temple's Khalif Wyatt (19.8 PPG) and La Salle's Ramon Galloway (17.3) are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on the list of the Atlantic 10's leading scorers and have emerged as the frontrunners for the conference's player of the year award. Wyatt, in particular, has averaged 24.4 points over his last 11 games. Over that stretch, he's gone for 30 or more threes times and 20 or more nine times.
3. Temple's NCAA Tournament Position
Will Temple make its sixth straight NCAA tournament or host a first-round NIT game? Fran Dunphy may not always be an exciting quote, but his team sure is bubbly. With six games remaining, Temple still has to play La Salle, Charlotte, Detroit, Rhode Island, Fordham and No. 24 Virginia Commonwealth. Three of those games should be wins and three will be tougher. A 4-2 close would give the Owls 21 wins heading into the A-10 tournament, a solid but not secure position. Right now, Lunardi has Temple as part of his first four out and Palm has the Owls as an 11-seed against sixth-seeded San Diego State in a rematch from the 2011 Round of 32.
4. The Owls Feel So Close to You Right Now
With its 83-82 win over UMass last Saturday, Temple set a new NCAA record, having played five consecutive games decided by just one point. No other program in the country has done that dating back to 1996-97, before which time no one seems to have kept such an accounting. Last year's meeting between these two teams at the Gola required overtime and was decided by — you guessed it — one point, when the Owls edged the Explorers 80-79. La Salle has not beaten Temple since 2009, when it did so at the Apollo. Related:
— Temple Men's BBall (@TUMBBHoops) February 21, 2013
5. The End of an Era
Just like Temple and St. Joe's earlier this month, barring a meeting in the Atlantic 10 tournament, tonight will be the final time Temple and La Salle tip off as members of the same conference.
An added Bonus: Dollar Dog Night
You shouldn't need this kind of added incentive and you shouldn't turn it down either. I mean, between that and the blood pressure screening...