The 1987-88 Temple men's basketball team that finished as the Associated Press' #1 ranked team and advanced to the NCAA Elite 8 with a 32-2 overall record will be one of five teams inducted into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame on April 11, 2016 at the league's annual awards banquet.
This marks the first time the Big 5 has inducted teams into its prestigious Hall of Fame. The other teams are: the 1968-69 La Salle Explorers (23-1, #2 national ranking); the 1970-71 Penn Quakers (28-1, #3 national ranking); 2003-04 Saint Joseph's Hawks (30-2, #1 national ranking) and 1984-85 Villanova Wildcats (25-10, NCAA Champions).
The 1987-88 Owls, under the direction of John Chaney, opened the season with a win over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. It was the first of 14 straight victories before the Cherry and White stumbled in a heart-breaking one-point loss at eighth-ranked UNLV.
Temple rebounded to win its next 18 games. Among those victories was a classic Big 5 game against #10 Villanova, 98-86, at McGonigle Hall, and a road win over #5 North Carolina, 83-66. The win over the Wildcats, a rare meeting between Big 5 schools ranked in the Top 10, came on February 10, two days after Temple earned its first-ever #1 ranking.
The Owls would go on to post a perfect 18-0 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference regular season, capturing the league's regular season and tournament championship. Temple would enter the NCAA Tournament on a 15-game win streak, and defeat Lehigh (87-73), Georgetown (74-53) and Richmond (69-47) before falling to fifth-ranked Duke (63-53) in the regional final.
Chaney earned his second straight USBWA National Coach of the Year award following the season while freshman guard Mark Macon was named to the Associated Press All-America Second Team. Macon was joined on the all-Atlantic 10 First Team by his backcourt mate, senior Howard Evans, and fellow senior forward Tim Perry, who earned A10 Player of the Year accolades. Junior forward Mike Vreeswyk earned second team all-conference honors.
Senior center Ramon Rivas rounded out the Owls starting five that season. Derrick Brantley, Duane Causwell, Jerome Dowdell, Shawn Johnson, Tom Katsikis, Darrin Pearsall, Ernest Pollard and Shoun Randolph rounded out the squad.