Temple takes on Cincinnati Dec. 9; Atlantic 10 Tourney takes place in March
Boardwalk Hall has been as hot as it can get for entertainment this fall. Already Elton John and Barry Manilow have played in the venue, with the Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand on the way.
That's a grand slam for sure.
But the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, under the direction of Jeffrey Vasser, wants to make sure that Boardwalk Hall doesn't live by big-time acts alone. As a result, Temple will play Cincinnati on Dec. 9 in a big-time college basketball game that will be a preview of the Atlantic 10 Conference postseason tournament slated for Boardwalk Hall in March 2007.
Temple is now coached by Fran Dunphy, who left Penn to take over the basketball program on Broad Street when Hall of Famer John Chaney retired after last season. Dunphy is a class act who will attempt to follow in the footsteps of a legend. The Cincinnati program was very good under former coach Bob Huggins, but at times bordered on renegade status. Now Mike Cronin is the coach.
Temple and Cincinnati are both schools steeped in basketball tradition. And hopefully the local Temple alumni will rally behind the Atlantic City date, much the way the Villanova alumni did last year when the Wildcats came to AC to play Division II's Longwood.
In the long run, Temple is a good fit because it is part of the Atlantic 10 Conference, which has committed to Atlantic City for the next two years with its postseason tournament, the winner of which earns an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. And the Atlantic 10 has shown its commitment to Atlantic City by announcing this week that its preseason basketball media day will be held in Atlantic City on Oct. 24 at Boardwalk Hall.
That means that a lot of key coaches and players will be in our city to talk college basketball that day.
"Atlantic City is one of the premier entertainment centers in the country and we are happy to be playing a high-level game there,'' Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "As far as Boardwalk Hall, it is a tremendous arena and we are fortunate to get a chance to play there."
"Bringing more Division I NCAA college basketball to Atlantic City fits perfectly into our mission of positioning Atlantic City as an ideal location for sporting events,'' said Vasser, the executive director of the ACCVA. "It will be great to welcome the Owls and their fans back to the renovated Boardwalk Hall and the city that is always turned on.''
Temple is no stranger to Atlantic City; the Owls played North Carolina State, then coached by the late Jim Valvano, here during the 1980s. Temple also played defending national champion Kansas at what was then known as the Atlantic City Convention Center during that decade. Temple even once played a football game at the Atlantic City Convention Center against Toledo, so the Owls have always had an affinity for Atlantic City, even before the CRDA pumped in $90 million in renovations.
The Temple-Cincinnati game is being promoted by Arden Branch, a Cherry Hill-based sports and entertainment company. The game will be broadcast by CN8.
Dunphy's task will be a daunting one, as he will bring a new style of basketball to Temple's program.
There are plenty of prominent Temple alumni in the Greater Atlantic City area -- like Jim Whelan and Lou Paludi -- who should rally the troops.
Chuck Betson's sports segment can be heard every Friday at 8:30am on the Hurley in the Morning show on WIBG 1020AM.
Barry Manilow didn’t quite know what to make of the idea of becoming a resident headliner when the Las Vegas Hilton offered him a major five-year contract seven years ago.