Commentary: Big 5 well represented in the big dance

By Kevin Moylett
March 17, 2016

college basketball photo

Three local schools have received bids to play in the 2016 NCAA men’s basketball tournament this season. Villanova, Saint Joseph’s and Temple will be representing the Big 5.

The Big 5 is a legendary group that was formed in the 1950’s. Often thought of when talking about the Big 5 is the Palestra, considered one of the best basketball facilities in the country.

Villanova (29-5, 16-2), the Big 5 champions, received a number two seed this year in the NCAA tournament. Once ranked the number one team in the entire country, Nova slipped late in the season with losses to Xavier and then Seton Hall in the final of the Big East tournament. Still, Nova is considered one of the favorites in the South region of the bracket. They will face number 15 seed UNC Asheville on Friday, March 18 at 12:40 p.m.

college basketball photo
The men’s NCAA tournament will officially kickoff on Thursday, March 17. Creative Commons

The Wildcats guard play and three-point shooting is what will carry them far in the tournament.  Former Big East co-player of the year, senior Ryan Arcidiacono,and junior Josh Hart lead an extremely impressive backcourt. Hart was named to the All-Big East first team this season. The X factor is junior forward Kris Jenkins. Jenkins ability to spread the floor with his size is key for the Wildcats. Jenkins is shooting 37 percent from three and just under 84 percent from the free throw line.

Saint Joseph’s (27-7, 13-5), the Atlantic 10 tournament champions, received a number eight seed this year in the NCAA tournament. Saint Joes got hot at the right time as an early exit in the conference tournament could have placed them squarely on the bubble to get in the NCAA tournament. The Hawks will face number eight seed Cincinnati in the west region of the bracket on Friday, March 18 at 9:57 p.m.

A-10 player of the year, junior guard DeAndre Bembry, has been the leader of this team since he was named captain in his sophomore season by head coach Phil Martelli. His sidekick, senior forward Isaiah Miles, is the reason Saint Joes was able to take it to the next level this season. Miles has more points in his senior season than the previous three seasons combined. Just like Nova’s Jenkins, Miles ability to spread the floor at the forward position is what makes him such a tough cover for opponents.

Temple (21-11, 14-4), the American Athletic Conference regular season champions, received a number 10 seed this year in the NCAA tournament. Temple entered selection Sunday on the bubble, worried about getting snubbed like last year. The committee decided the Owls had a strong enough resume to represent the AAC and Big 5 in the tournament. Temple will face number seven seed Iowa in the South region of the bracket on Friday, March 18 at 3:10 p.m.

The Owls are lead by senior guard Quenton DeCosey. DeCosey was named to the All-ACC first team this season. As DeCosey goes so do the Temple Owls. Sophomore forward Obi Enechionyia is a similar type player to Nova’s Jenkins and Saint Joe’s Isaiah Miles, a big man who can spread the floor. Enechionyia is not quite as effective on the boards as Miles but nonetheless he is a sharp shooter from beyond the arc. The Owls big man senior forward Jaylen Bond is their presence down low. Bond has recorded 10 double-double’s this season and is averaging 10.2 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game. If Temple and Villanova get through their first games then a Big 5 match-up will occur in the round of 32.

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Kevin Moylett

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