Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Temple and La Salle’s first non-conference matchup in nearly 20 years is headed for national television. The schools announced on Wednesday that their scheduled Jan. 18 matchup will be featured as the host of College GameDay, with the game being nationally broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2.
“All college basketball fans watch College GameDay,” La Salle head coach John Giannini said in a released statement. “It’s a great honor and opportunity to be chosen from all the nation’s games to have ESPN’s coverage.
College GameDay will be hosted by Rece Davis, who returns for his 10th season behind the desk of ESPN’s big weekend college hoops show. He’ll be joined by analysts Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps and Jalen Rose, with the show starting at 10 AM on ESPNU and continuing at 11 AM on ESPN before the game tips off at noon.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase Temple Basketball and the Philadelphia Big 5 to a national television audience,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said in a separate release. ”It is a win-win for the city, as well as for both programs.”
Both teams are coming off NCAA Tournament appearances, with Temple advancing to the Round of 32 before a loss to top-seeded Indiana while La Salle won three games en route to the school’s first Sweet 16 appearance in over 50 years. The Explorers return every major piece aside from graduated senior Ramon Galloway and look to challenge for the Atlantic 10 Conference title, while Temple moves into the American Athletic Conference having lost five seniors–including four of its top five scorers.
Last year, the two schools split the Big 5 title with identical 3-1 records. In the schools’ only meeting last year, on Feb. 21 at Temple, the Owls pulled away for a 82-74 win thanks to a big 23-point, 18-rebound peformance by graduated senior Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson.
The matchup at the Palestra is the first of two years in a row the schools agreed to hold their game, with La Salle playing host this year while Temple will be the “home” team next season. Tickets for the game, as well as the student section behind the GameDay set, will both be split evenly between Explorers and Owls.
It’s the first time the schools will meet at the historic home of the Big 5 since Jan. 4, 1989. Of the previous 113 meetings between the two schools, 33 have been played in the Cathedral of College Basketball.