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March 17, 2019

Villanova, Temple dancing as NCAA Tournament bracket unveiled

The brackets are out and Philly, as usual, is represented.

With Duke, Virginia, Gonzaga and UNC boasting top billing, it's never too early to go hunting for upsets. Both the squads representing Philadelphia and the Big 5 — Villanova and Temple — will have plenty of upset chances as they participate in the Big Dance.

Here's a look at their matchups at first glance:

No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 11 St. Mary's

Don't expect too much from the Wildcats this March — Villanova only wins national championship in even years.

Defending their 2018 crown, the 'Cats returned to the top of the Big East with their third straight conference tournament crown in a nail-biter against Seton Hall earning an auto-bid.

Returning Eric Paschall and Phil Booth from their title squad, the Wildcats won the regular season in a weak Big East conference and went on to drew the No. 6 seed and a game against St. Mary's (22-11) from the WAC Thursday in Hartford.

If they take care of business, they'll play the winner of No. 3 Purdue vs No. 14 Old Dominion as they set their sites on upsetting the top seed in the South, Virginia.

No. 11 Temple vs. No. 11 Belmont

In the final season for legendary head coach Fran Dunphy (who started his career at Penn but will finish it after 13 seasons with Temple at season's end), the Owls escaped the bubble and got a well-deserved but sometimes in doubt berth. The Owls will face Belmont (from the Ohio Valley Conference) in the play-in game as the No. 11 seed. The game, to be played in Dayton, tips off approximately at 9:10 p.m. on Tuesday (TruTV).

Temple was a regular in the field of 68 years ago, as the Owls made the dance in six of Dunphy's first seven seasons at the helm in North Philly. However, since the team made the jump from the A-10 to the AAC, they've made just one appearance (in 2015) and were one-and-done.

With many concerned their early exit may cost them a spot in the field, Temple was able to just barely make the tournament, and will battle for the right to face off against Maryland, the No. 6 seed in the East region.

Should they advance in those two games, Temple (23-9) would play the winner of No. 3 LSU and No. 14 Yale.

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