Duke was ranked No. 5 when it beat the Owls, 63-53, but that really was not one of Coach K's best teams. That Danny Manning's flawed Kansas team eventually won the national championship strongly suggests the Owls were good enough with their dream starting lineup. They just picked a really bad day to have a really bad day.
Senior point guard Howard Evans, freshman shooting guard Mark Macon, classic wing shooter/small forward Mike Vreeswyk, shot-blocking power forward Tim Perry and immovable object/center Ramon Rivas were brilliant together. They played Chaney's zones perfectly and they could really score, putting up more than 80 points 14 times.
That team had the school's all-time leading scorer, Macon (2,609 points), all-time assist leader, Evans (748), all-time blocked shots leader, Perry (392), the player with the second most threes, Vreeswyk (271) and four 1,000-point scorers (also Vreeswyk, Evans and Perry).
Would love to have seen that team and that zone against the only other Big 5 team to get to No. 1, 2003-04 Saint Joseph's, with the great guard play and all those three-point shooters. La Salle was ranked No. 1 twice in the 1950s, before the Big 5 was formed.
That Temple season culminated a 5-year run for Chaney/Temple that looks like a misprint. After taking exactly one season to get it going, Chaney's next five Temple teams went 140-23 overall, 83-7 in the A-10 and 16-4 in the Big 5.
DUKE, SYRACUSE HERE?
With slightly more than a month to Selection Sunday, some predictions are easier than others. With NCAA Tournament games coming to the Wells Fargo after the First Four narrows the field to 64, it looks like Duke and Syracuse will be the anchor teams.
Higher seeds get geographical site preference. Duke and Syracuse appear likely to be the highest seeds that are closest to the city. So you can probably count on seeing them as No. 1 (Duke), No. 2 or 3 (Syracuse) seeds, playing a 16 (Duke) and No. 14 or 15 (Syracuse) in the "second" round.
Four other teams will make their way to the city. Given the Duke/Syracuse scenario, we are probably looking at an 8-9 game (lined up with Duke) and a 7-10 or 6-11 game (lined up with Syracuse).
The regionals are in Washington, Los Angeles, Indianapolis and Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, site of the 2014 Final Four). The 2013 Final Four is in Atlanta.
The other early-round sites are Lexington, Ky.; Detroit; Salt Lake City; San Jose; Austin, Texas; Kansas City, and Dayton, Ohio. Technically, a First Four team (also played in Dayton) could just stay there and play in the next round.
Could any of the local teams, if they get in, play at the Wells Fargo Center? Yes, but remember there would be only four possible spots and they would have to be in those 8-9, 7-10 or 6-11 games to line up with Duke or Syracuse. La Salle is ing 11-12 range at the moment and the Selection Committee does not assume second-round wins so, technically, the Explorers could play in Philly, potentially giving a higher-seeded Syracuse a home-court disadvantage in the third round. Temple, also that 11-12 range, can't play at Wells Fargo because it is the host school.
The RPI numbers at the moment are: La Salle (30), Temple (55), Villanova (73) and Saint Joseph's (78).
UNBEATEN IN CONFERENCE
There are 12 teams with perfect league records as we hit the midway point of most conference seasons. They are Miami (ACC), Montana (Big Sky), Memphis/Southern Mississippi (Conference USA), Harvard/Princeton (Ivy), Akron (Mid-American), Norfolk State/North Carolina Central (Mid-Eastern), Belmont (Ohio Valley), Gonzaga (West Coast) and Louisiana Tech (Western Athletic).
MOST DOMINANT TEAM
It was definitely Florida - until the Gators got hammered at Arkansas Tuesday night, 80-69. Florida had a final-minute meltdown at Arizona and was outplayed the following week by Kansas State in Kansas City. Other than that, they have been overwhelming teams.
Consider these scores - Wisconsin (74-56), Marquette (82-49), Florida State (72-47), Georgia (77-44), Missouri (83-52), South Carolina (75-36). By the way, No. 1 Indiana lost at home to Wisconsin.
No team plays the combination of offense and defense better than the Gators. That their top seven are juniors and seniors, and they have a two-time national-championship coach in Billy Donovan have to make them one of the favorites to win the championship.
BY THE NUMBERS
-- How often does a team shoot 63.8 percent and lose? Arizona State was 37-for-58 overall and 12-for-19 from the arc at Washington last Saturday and lost, 96-92. How is that possible? Well, ASU was just 6-for-12 from the foul line while Washington was 21-for-22.
-- Miami won at North Carolina State on Saturday by a point despite shooting 3-for-21 from the arc and allowing the Pack to shoot nearly 54 percent. How is that possible? The 'Canes were 27-for-40 on two-point shots.
-- NC State's four ACC losses are by a combined seven points. Miami, which already has won at North Carolina, can become the first since Georgia Tech (1995-96) to sweep the "Research Triangle" if it can win at Duke on March 2.
-- Former Penn assistant Mike Martin is not far from being 4-0 in the Ivy in his first season at Brown. His team is 2-2 with an overtime loss at Yale and a double-OT loss at Harvard.
-- Bill Self is now 157-8 at Allen after a rare Kansas home loss to Oklahoma State. KU had won 33 straight at home and 101 of 102. There are homecourt advantages and then there is Allen Fieldhouse.
-- Pittsburgh is 13-1 against Top 10 teams at Petersen Events Center. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon has solved the Syracuse zone. His teams are 10-3 against the 'Cuse.
THIS AND THAT
-- Assuming La Salle wins Saturday against Fordham, I think the Explorers get to the NCAA if they can navigate the hardest part of their schedule (at St. Bonaventure, St. Joe's (Palestra), at Temple and at Rhode Island) with two or more wins.
-- St. Joe's commits the second fewest fouls (12.5 per game) while blocking 125 shots, a combination that gives them a chance in every game. If Langston Galloway can get hot (amazing 46.6 percent from the arc last season, more mortal 37.2 percent this season), this team could make a serious run in the A-10. This is a key week with road games at dangerous opponents, Dayton and Massachusetts.
-- With Ryan Kelly (foot) out for likely the rest of the regular season (at least), Duke freshman Amile Jefferson (Friends Central) is starting to get some serious run. He has scored double figures in four of his last six games, along with 35 rebounds.
-- The tallest team in America, according to kenpom.com, is Princeton. The roster averages 6-7. Even the Tigers guards are huge.
-- Do not count Coach Cal and Kentucky out yet. The Wildcats went on the road last week and beat Mississippi and Texas A & M. Nerlens Noel, the likely No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, had an absurd 12 blocks against the Rebels, finishing off a six-game run of 46 blocks. He is nowhere near as skilled as Anthony Davis (he was 0-for-1 from the field and 2-for-8 from the foul line against Ole Miss), but he can really defend the lane and they love that in the "league."