Fran Dunphy

Temple begins practice in preparation for trip to Europe

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With three starters gone from a team that won 24 games and gave Indiana all it wanted in the NCAA tournament round of 32, the Temple Owls have some work to do as they approach their first season as a member of the American Athletic Conference.

With the need to account for the graduation of five seniors, this is probably a good offseason for head coach Fran Dunphy to have an overseas trip at his disposal. On Wednesday, the Owls had the first of ten practices they’re allowed per NCAA rules before leaving for a ten-day trip to France and Italy.

And with the number of contributors gone from last season’s team, most notably leading scorer Khalif Wyatt, these practices will be the first step in determining roles for the 2013-14 Owls according to Nick Menta of CSN Philly.

“Well, that’s one of the reasons why you [take this kind of trip],” Dunphy said Wednesday. “This is a critical year for us. We have a lot of inexperienced guys, who haven’t had that much of a chance to play college basketball.

“We’re going to need everybody.”

Wyatt alone finished the season with a possession percentage of 31.6%, a number that ranked 16th nationally according to kenpom.com. And of Temple’s returnees from last season’s squad, Anthony Lee was their most productive (9.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) with Will Cummings (5.8, 2.2) ranking second in both categories.

It goes without saying that there’s plenty of room for players such as Lee, Cummings and Dalton Pepper (the team’s lone senior) to step up and the same goes for the likes of Quenton DeCosey and Daniel Dingle, who both saw little playing time in 2012-13.

Temple’s got some big strides to make as they look to avoid missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007, especially when considering the fact that they’ll play two games apiece against new conference foes Louisville, Memphis, UConn and Cincinnati (programs such as UCF, Houston and SMU could also be dangerous).

But even with that “pressure” on their collective shoulders, Dunphy is hopeful that his players will take full advantage of this overseas trip and not focus solely on the basketball.

“I have the opportunity two other times to take team, at Penn actually, to Italy and Spain,” Dunphy said. “I don’t know if they’ll appreciate today as much as they will five years from now. I think the opportunity to get together as a basketball group is important, but it’s equally as important for the educational and cultural piece of learning a new language for a few weeks and a new culture.

“I’m sure it’ll be a great trip for us in many, many ways.”

Temple leaves on August 14, and they’ll make stops in Paris, Nice, Florence and Rome.

Mountain West admits official error, won’t change result of Boise State-Colorado State

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After reviewing video for a second straight day, the Mountain West has determined that Boise State should have beaten Colorado State on Wednesday night, but that due to an NCAA rule the outcome of the game cannot be changed.

Boise State’s James Webb III hit a one-handed, banked-in three at the end of overtime in Colorado State’s Moby Arena, breaking an 84-all tie, but after officials reviewed the play on the video monitor, they waived off the basket. Webb got the shot off in time, but the clock operator did not start the clock on time. After using stopwatch technology embedded in the video monitor, the referees determined that it took 1.3 seconds from the time that Webb caught the pass until the time that he got the shot off.

There were 0.8 seconds left when Boise State took the ball out of bounds.

On Thursday, the league announced that the referees followed the correct protocol to make the call.

They released a video that the referees used to make the decision, but upon further analysis — and amid a push on social media — it was determined that there was a difference between the “rate at which the embedded digital stopwatch advanced and the rate at which the game clock regressed during the instant replay review.”

In other words, the referees made the correct call with the evidence they had available, but the conference provided them with flawed evidence.

Boise State lost 97-93 in double-overtime.

The loss came four days after officials botched a call at the end of San Diego State’s win over New Mexico.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.