DAYTON, Ohio — Coach Fran Dunphy stood courtside with arms crossed, clutching a sheet of notes in his left hand, as his Temple Owls made layups to start practice. The school fight song played over the public- address system at the University of Dayton.

This visit is special. For Dunphy, a 70-year-old coach, it’s a one-and-done First Four.

He’s retiring after the season, though he’s loath to consider what it will be like without the recruiting, games and tourney pressure.

Whenever Temple (23-9) is done, Dunphy will hand the program to Aaron McKie, a former Owls star who’s now an assistant coach.

Dunphy coached 17 years at Penn before replacing John Chaney at Temple in 2006. The pass-the-torch moment could come Tuesday night against Belmont (26-5), or deeper in the NCAA tournament. With all the uncertainty, there’s no time to feel nostalgic.

“To be honest with you, I think the nostalgia will hit me sometime in mid-April when I was going to go on a recruiting mission and I don’t – things like that,” Dunphy said. “But I think at this point you’re so busy and so caught up in what’s happening in the moment.

“So you don’t have much time or desire to think about yourself in this situation.”

The bigger concern is trying to figure out how to slow a Belmont team that averages 87.4 points per game and gives up 73.9. The Bruins got an at-large bid after losing the Ohio Valley Conference title game to Murray State. They present an unusual matchup on short notice.

“We’re in a cram session,” Dunphy said. “I was never a good student so I didn’t do a lot of cramming back in the day. That’s what we’re doing now. You don’t sleep too much and you’re fired up.”

In the First Four opener Tuesday night, Fairleigh Dickinson (20-13) will take on Prairie View A&M (22-12).

On Wednesday night, North Carolina Central (18-15) faces North Dakota State (18-15) and then Arizona State (22-10) plays St. John’s (21-12).


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