Temple/St. Joe's is probably the best college basketball rivalry among the city’s Big Five and tonight, at the Liacouras Center, the Owls and Hawks will meet for the 147th time at 7 p.m. sharp.
Temple and St. Joe’s are almost exact mirror images of one another from the jersey colors, to the wild fan base, to the respected city coaches.
Yet, they don’t get the smothering national attention that Villanova does.
Doesn't matter because they refuse to be ignored like the basketball programs of Drexel and LaSalle (no offense).
They work hard to earn and maintain their respect.
This is what separates the rivalry between Temple and St. Joe's from all the others.
Sure, the “Holy War” between St. Joe's and Villanova brings the hype from the fans, but no one really expects the Hawks to win.
Games between the Owls and the Hawks, on the other hand, always come down to the last shot and they have so much meaning because the teams are in the same conference.
In fact, the rivalry was intensified after last year’s Atlantic 10 Finals. Temple knocked off St. Joe's to advance to the Big Dance.
Once again, tonight’s game will have a huge impact on the standings. The winner will take the crucial 4th seed going into the A-10 tournament.
To be fair, LaSalle is also in the A-10 but they were never in the hunt.
It is the games, the fans, the players and the coaches that make Temple vs. St. Joe’s special.
Coaches like Hall of Famer John Chaney.
In February 2005, the Owls were losing to the Hawks on their home floor and Chaney was annoyed with what he felt were “non-calls.” So he took action and sent in the seldom used, 6 ft. 8 “goon” Nehemiah Ingram into the game mostly to physically punish the Hawks. Ingram fouled out in just four minutes and landed two violent blows to two players in the process.
Coach Chaney apologized for his actions, but it's those actions that show the hostility the two teams have for each other.
Delonte West, Jameer Nelson, Pat Caroll, Mardy Collins, Lynn Greer and Pepe Sanchez are just some of the names that all always be remembered in this rivalry.
Tonight it’s the duty of Ahmad Nivins and Dionte Christmas to continue the greatest rivalry in the Big Five.