PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Drexel had won its eighth straight game when coach Bruiser Flint decided to brag. Flint, tired of his Dragons getting overlooked on the city scene, declared Drexel the best hoops team in Philadelphia.

"I think we're the best team in Philly," Flint said. "I think we can beat anybody in the city."

Best team within walking distance of The Palestra? Sure. Best team among the six Division I programs in the city? Well, that might come as a surprise at Temple, where the Owls have become the hottest team in the sport without a national ranking.

The Owls don't need a number in front of their name to tell them how good they are.

Temple, in fact, is on a tear, rolling off eight straight wins entering Wednesday night's game at St. Bonaventure. The Owls (19-5, 8-2 Atlantic 10) are in first place, have a string of big victories on their resume — like knocking off Duke — and have hopes of a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Last season, March was all about winning one game for Fran Dunphy, and ending the longest losing streak of any coach in the history of the NCAA tournament.

This season, the Owls want more. But expecting Dunphy to talk about March when Bonaventure is next on the schedule is kind of like expecting the Owls to lose two straight games: It's not going to happen.

Under Dunphy, in his sixth season at Temple, the Owls have become as consistent as any team in college basketball.

The Owls haven't lost two straight since dropping games to La Salle and Dayton in February 2009. Only Kansas (January 2006) and Duke (February 2009) have gone longer without a two-game losing streak.

For the Owls, that kind of success starts at the top with Dunphy, who changed his look this season (gone is his bushy mustache), just not his style.

"Every day in practice, every single play in practice, he nitpicks something," guard Khalif Wyatt said. "He's a perfectionist. He just wants things done a certain way, and his way works."

His quest for perfection paid off in Saturday's win over Xavier. With first place in the A-10 on the line, the Owls played about as flawless a 20 minutes as a team can play while racing to an early 16-0 run and a 21-point lead. The Owls shot 61 percent from the floor (19 of 31) in the half and 64 percent from 3-point range (7 of 11). Dunphy laughed at a suggestion that Temple won in a romp, pointing out a second half that failed to match the first in sheer dominance. Not many teams could have matched that effort.

"We just had a chance to make a statement," Wyatt said, "and we did a pretty good job of it."

Wyatt (16.7 points) joins Juan Fernandez (11.0) and Ramone Moore (18.8) as a trio of starting guards with a double-digit scoring average. When Temple had a 12-point lead on the brink of being erased last month vs. Maryland, Wyatt, Moore and Fernandez hit consecutive 3-pointers for a comfortable lead.

Moore, a 6-foot-4 senior guard, is the best of the bunch, and has forced himself into contention for A-10 player of the year honors. He's led Temple in scoring each of the last six games, including a stellar 30-point outing on national television against the Musketeers.

"He's the heart and soul of the team," Dunphy said. "Everyone likes Ramone."

Except for the opposition.

Moore is hardly alone in leading the Owls to big wins. Wyatt scored 22 points and junior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson had 17 in Temple's 78-73 win over then-No. 5 Duke in January.

Temple's win over the Blue Devils extended its run of consecutive seasons to a win over a top-10 non-conference team to four. They beat No. 8 Tennessee in 2008, No. 3 Villanova in 2009, No. 9 Georgetown last season, and, on Jan. 4, Duke.

As the fans stormed the court in wild celebration of the win over the Blue Devils, Dunphy and Fernandez simply waited for a TV interview. While doing so, the coach gave his guard a simple message:

"This is tremendous," Dunphy said. "Now, what about Dayton?"

The wins haven't been enough to get them ranked in The Associated Press' Top 25. The Owls are 99 points out of a spot in this week's poll.

"The bigger picture is where we're going to be May 1," said Dunphy, who likes to analyze where his team fits in with all of college basketball a month after the Final Four.

The Owls, as of now, are on the cusp of 20 wins after a touch of adversity. Forward Scootie Randall has missed the season with a knee injury. And forward Micheal Eric missed 13 games because of an injured right patella. Eric, Temple's top rebounder, returned for the Maryland game — and the Owls haven't lost since then.

"I feel like I'm getting to that comfort zone right now, where I can play as hard as I can and not worry about my past injuries," he said.

Eric wants to make up for lost time with a nice run in the postseason. Temple has six games left until the Atlantic 10 tournament starts. The Owls could have the No. 1 seed in Atlantic City, N.J., as well as motivation on their side.

Temple, after all, had won three straight conference tournaments before coming up short last season.

"We put ourselves in great position," Moore said. "We don't want to get too comfortable."

It might be easy to get comfy in Temple's new digs. Temple's $10 million basketball practice facility opened last month and the fresh-paint smell was as noticeable this week as the empty trophy cases still under construction outside the gym.

But Temple didn't become a national force on flashy surroundings — or boasts. Players, in fact, laughed off Flint's claim that no team was better than Drexel.

"I ain't got nothing to say about that," Moore said, waving his hands, and laughing.

The Owls state their case on the court.