NCAA

Temple ready for prime time; Penn looking to go back to back; Villanova out for revenge

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Temple ready for prime time; Penn looking to go back to back; Villanova out for revenge

Temple (3-5, 1-4 AAC) vs. Navy (5-2)
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Thursday, 8 p.m., ESPN

Last time out
Temple lost to Army, 31-28 (OT), on Oct 21.

Navy lost to UCF, 31-21, on Oct 21.

Scouting report
In a rematch of last season’s AAC Championship Game, both teams are coming off a much-needed bye. Navy comes into Philadelphia on a two-game losing streak, with its starting quarterback Zach Abey recovering from a concussion, and needs just one more win for an automatic bowl berth. Temple, on the other hand, must win three of its four remaining games to become bowl eligible. 

History is not in the Owls' favor, as the Midshipmen are undefeated in 12 games at the Linc (two wins against Temple, 10 wins against Army). The Midshipmen also boast the best rushing offense in the nation at 376.1 yards per game, led by Abey, who is expected to play Thursday. Abey has rushed for 1,142 yards on the ground so far this season, which is good for second in the nation, as well as 13 touchdowns. If he plays, the Owls' defense must slow him down for a chance to win. 

For Temple, redshirt junior quarterback Frank Nutile will make his second career start. He completed 20 of 29 passes for 290 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers in his first start against Army on Oct. 21.

What it means
If Temple wants to have any chance to make a bowl game, it has to win three of its last four.

Series history
This will be the 13th meeting between Temple and Navy, with the series locked at 6-6. The last time the two teams played was in last year’s AAC championship game, which the Owls won, 34-10.

What’s next?
Temple travels to Cincinnati.

Navy hosts SMU.

Penn (3-4, 1-3 Ivy) vs. Princeton (5-2, 2-2 Ivy)
Franklin Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 p.m. Saturday


Last time out
Penn defeated Brown, 17-7, Saturday.

Princeton lost to Cornell 29-28, Saturday.

Scouting report
Princeton’s high-powered offense will meet up with Penn’s poor scoring defense. The Tigers lead the Ivy League by scoring 39 points per game and are gaining an average of 480 yards per game on offense. Penn’s defense is the opposite. They rank seventh in both scoring defense and in total defense. The Quakers allow 27.7 points per game and a total of 409 yards on defense. This could be a long day at the office for the Quakers.

Series history
This is the 109th meeting between the teams. The Tigers hold a 66-41-1 advantage and Princeton won 28-0 last year. 

What’s next?
Penn is at Harvard.

Princeton hosts Yale.

Villanova (4-4, 2-3 CAA) vs. Richmond (4-4, 2-3 CAA)
Villanova Stadium, Villanova, Pennsylvania
1 p.m. Saturday


Last time out
Villanova lost to Elon, 19-14, Saturday.

Richmond lost to Stony Brook, 27-24, Saturday.

Scouting report
The key matchup here will be Richmond’s passing game against Villanova’s pass defense. So far this season, Richmond has thrown for an average of 370 yards per game, the most in the Colonial, and Villanova’s pass defense has allowed 253 passing yards per game. Villanova’s rush defense has been dominant so their secondary will have to step up in a big way against the Spiders. Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta has completed 64 percent of his passes and has thrown for 26 touchdowns. Villanova’s secondary will get work early and often.

Series history
Villanova leads the series, 22-12. The Spiders won 23-0 last season.

What’s next?
Villanova is at Rhode Island next Saturday.

Richmond is at James Madison next Saturday.

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

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Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

Villanova is losing its second star player in two days. 

Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career. 

This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.

“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”

Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years. 

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.