Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
The Temple Owls finalized their schedule on Friday with the announcement of their three opponents in the 2012 Gotham Classic. The Owls had already announced they were playing the Syracuse Orange on Dec. 22 in the premier game of the showcase, to be held at Madison Square Garden in New York, but the three other games–played on-campus at Temple’s Liacouras Center–were just finalized today.
Temple will host Alcorn State and Canisius on Monday, Dec. 17 and Wednesday, Dec. 19 respectively; they’ll also host Detroit Mercy on Friday, Dec. 28.
Last season, Alcorn State went 9-22 (6-12) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC); the Braves will be led by senior forward Anthony Nieves, who averaged 10.9 points in 14 games last year after sitting out the first 18 games of the season.
Cainisius (5-25, 1-17 Metro Atlantic) features a pair of familiar faces in former Rhode Island coach Jim Baron–who took over at the MAAC school this offseason–and his son Billy Baron, who received an eligibility waiver and should start for the Golden Griffins this season.
Of the three announced opponents, the University of Detroit-Mercy Titans are the biggest threat to Temple this season. A 22-14 (11-7) team last year in the competitive Horizon League, the Titans have a big weapon in junior guard Ray McCallum, who averaged 15.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists last season and already has over 1000 points in his career.
Temple’s season gets underway with a nationally televised game against Kent State on Nov. 23, which will be shown on ESPN.