Temple has two paths to get bowl eligible for the fourth straight season ... and neither one is easy.
Here are the options:
1. Run the table in the remaining three games — beating Cincinnati, Army and Syracuse OR ...
2. Win two of those three games, schedule that oft-reported (but still not official) game at Hawaii on Dec. 7 and beat the Rainbow Warriors.
Both scenarios get Temple the necessary six wins.
The obvious problems? The Owls' pass defense has struggled against every team not named Villanova and will have to play the No. 1 passing offense in the Big East (Syracuse) on Black Friday in its 11th (and for now last) game of the season.
That makes Saturday's game vs. Cinci crucial to the Temple's hopes of qualifying for postseason play. If Temple loses to Cincinnati, it will have to schedule the 12th game at Hawaii just to have a shot at getting eligible, and then have to beat Army, Syracuse and Hawaii back-to-back-to-back. It's the middle game that would obviously be the stumbling block.
But, if the Owls can beat the Bearcats on Saturday, and get to four wins, they'll at least afford one themselves non-season-ending loss (assuming they do schedule a 12th game).
With regard to that 12th game, a Big East bowl would have to hold a spot for a five-win Temple team, assuming it went 2-1 over the next three weeks. That means, when everyone else gets selected to a bowl on Dec. 2, one game with a Big East tie-in would have to leave a slot open, awaiting the outcome of Temple-Hawaii.
Obviously there's a lot of contingencies here, but the "chart" above is about as simple as it gets. And to avoid any more complications, it would just be a whole lot easier if Temple won today.
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About NBC internships
Joel Embiid does not expect to play in the Sixers’ first back-to-back Saturday.
“I’m not playing tomorrow. No back-to-backs yet,” he said before Friday’s game. “I don’t think so. I’ve got to check on that again. But there’s a plan in place and that’s what I’m going to follow.”
The Sixers faced the Celtics on Friday in their home opener and then will travel to Toronto Saturday night to take on the Raptors. It is their first of 14 pairs of back-to-back matchups this season. He projects he will eventually be cleared for them.
“This year, there’s not a lot of back-to-backs,” Embiid said. “I feel like I’ll miss some but I’m not sure when. But I’ll definitely play some back-to-backs this year.”
Embiid has yet to be cleared for consecutive games in his injury-hampered career. It is important for him for reach that checkmark.
“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.
Sitting out Saturday will not bump up his minutes Friday, Embiid said. He played 26:57 in the season opener Wednesday and is eyeing somewhere around 20 against the Celtics. Brett Brown is managing his playing time within a range, not a specific restriction like last season.
The key to being cleared for more minutes and back-to-backs? Staying away from injuries.
“I’ve got to balance it out because I’m ultra-competitive so I want to get out there, jump in the stands, dive for every loose ball,” Embiid said. “But at the same time, I’ve to find a balance in between staying healthy and doing all that.”