The lights were up, the cameras were on, but the players were nowhere to be found. At Temple’s selection show party last night, the players waited until their No. 9 seed was confirmed before making their way over to the Liacouras Center.
The Owls will take on No. 8 N.C. State on Friday in the East Region.
“We weren’t going to come over here until we knew we were in and we didn’t know we were in,” said coach Fran Dunphy. “We’ve been pretty fortunate in the past six years to be able to go to this tournament.”
Temple wasn’t the only Philly team selected, Villanova was handed a No. 9 seed and La Salle snuck in as a No. 13 seed.
“I’m very happy for La Salle,” said Dunphy. “I went to La Salle and am a proud alum. I’m happy that all three teams are in, and hopefully that means a lot to all Philadelphians.”
Atlantic 10 and likely Big 5 Player of the Year Khalif Wyatt wasn’t as worried as his coach.
“We really didn’t know today how high or low we’d be seeded or where,” said Wyatt. “Coach was even talking about the NIT or CBI, but I had a feeling we’d be in.”
Dayton is familiar territory for Wyatt. Last month, Wyatt scored 20 points, including a game-winning three to lift the Owls past the Flyers, 72-71. He’s looking for an encore.
“Hopefully, we can make some more memories in Dayton,” said Wyatt. “Friday can’t come fast enough.”