In a year where there's no real clear consensus favorite to win the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, why not pick a sleeper or two to advance all the way to the Final Four? Gregg Doyel, the national columnist for CBS Sportsline sure did. Doyel didn't go too crazy with his bracket -- he thinks the Ohio State Buckeyes will cut down the nets in New Orleans. But he definitely had one surprise Final Four pick: the Temple Owls.
f ever there was a year with a bizarre Final Four team -- a Butler, a George Mason -- this is the one. So who's it going to be? It's going to be Temple. I believe in Fran Dunphy and in his guard play.
Temple head coach Fran Dunphy had this to say when asked if he had heard about Doyel's prediction during his Monday appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic:
“I was not. Was he talking to my mom?”
Dunphy also fielded questions about the excitement level of his team, the steady leadership and play of senior LaVoy Allen, the Owls' first round matchup against Penn State, and what his team needs to do to snap their three-game losing streak in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. (Partial transcription via: SRI)
On if there’s any less excitement for guys like LaVoy Allen heading in to what will be their four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance than in previous years:
“Brian (Baldinger), I don’t think there’s any question of the excitement of a young athlete getting his opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament. It’s what you plan for and hope for each year. And I appreciate you mentioning Lavoy Allen. I will tell you that if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if we would have been there once, let alone four times. He’s just been a rock steady guy in our program. I’ve said it so many times: I don’t know where our program would be without him. He’s just such an anchor for what we’ve been able to do, so I’m very grateful for that. But the kids, they just get juiced about being in this tournament, so I would love to have the opportunity to win a game for them.”
On Penn State star Taylor Battle and all the big shots he’s made all year:
“Well he certainly has and he’s a 1st Team All Big 10 player which is a pretty great accomplishment in anybody’s program. But he’s just one of those guys that has absolutely no fear and would love to have on your team because at the end of the game, there’s no decisions to make — you just give him the ball and everybody else gets out of the way. So as a coach it makes it a whole lot easier. But you’ve guys have all been around those type of athletes — both as athletes and as analysts now. That’s what you want as a coach, and it’s up to these guys to take over the game. So for Taylor Battle it’s easy for him to rise up and shoot a jumper. And you know what? He thinks he’s making everything. And that’s exactly what you want.”