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Add Villanova to the list of Big East Shockers

Ok, No.3 Villanova falling to Temple, 76-65, in front of a nice crowd of 8,449 at the Liacouras Center on the Owls campus should't be considered a huge upset.

After all, those traditional Big 5 matchups are never easy. Temple (8-2) is usually pretty competitive against Villanova (9-2).  

The resurgent Owls have fared well under Fran Dunphy. Under the former Penn coach, the Owls have made the NCAA tournament the last two seasons, both after winning the Atlantic-10 Conference tournament.

This season the Owls may not have to worry about winning the tournament. With a a non-conference schedule that includes games against Georgetown, Villanova, a hot Seton Hall team and an improving St. John's squad, the Owls could find themselves with an at-large bid at season's end.

Temple's win is also great for the Atlantic 10. Barring a complete collapse by the Owls, the A-10 is practically guaranteed to be a multi-bid conference this season. Charlotte, Rhode Island and Dayton are all having fine seasons and will challenge for a bid.

As for Villanova, it's not a terrible loss. Playing on the road against a fierce local rival like Temple leaves a team ripe for an upset. Anything can happen in a game like that. Temple's Juan Fernandez hit seven three-pointers and lit the Wildcats up for 33 points.

Big East notes: Syracuse easly knocked off St. Francis (NY), 75-51, and improved to 10-0... St. John's continued its strong overall play with a 73-56 win over Fordham...South Florida fell to Central Michigan, 59-56 and Xavier topped Cincinnati 83-79, in double OT. Local product Terrell Holloway (Hempstead) had 26 points to lead Xavier.

New York Sports