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Is Temple as good as its impressive 20-5 record?


Mike Miller

Here’s a routine sight for this season: Temple wins. Also routine? Temple wins by a less-than-comfortable margin.

Half of the Owls’ 20 wins this season have been by seven points or less, including Wednesday’s night’s 76-70 victory at St. Bonaventure.

Any league road win should count as a good win – playing at a familiar foe’s place is hardly easy, even if a team’s overmatched – but Temple seems to have a habit of letting teams stick around. The Owls (20-5, 9-2) led the Bonnies by 14 with under five minutes left, but it was down to three with 22 seconds left. Free throws sealed the win.

Cool under pressure when it mattered most? Or just a few rough patches?

Temple’s been the A-10’s best team in terms of efficiency margin this season, which indicates it not only plays well enough to beat down opponents – it had a four-game stretch in which it posted wins by 22, 18, 18 and 17 – it can do so on a regular-basis.

Perhaps the Owls aren’t as good the 2009-10 version that went 29-6, but it’s still a team of which BCS schools should be. The offense can hit from outside and they’re loaded with experience at guard. Both should be enough for a March win provided the defense improves a bit.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.