Atlantic 10 Conference (29-5, 14-2)
Big Wins: 11/21 Siena (73-69), 12/13 Villanova (75-65), 1/20 Xavier (77-72)
Bad Losses: 11/28 vs St. John’s (48-55), 1/27 at Charlotte (64-74), 2/6 at Richmond (54-71)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, First Round loss to Arizona State
Coach: Fran Dunphy (1-11 in 11 NCAA appearances)
Why They Can Surprise:
Temple was supposed to fall apart with the departure of Dionte Christmas. But they were supposed to struggle last year too without Mark Tyndale and ended up making the NCAA Tournament. Once again just about everybody underestimated the Owls. Coach Fran Dunphy has done a superb job with his team and Temple is bigger than any individual player. Temple is a team that slows down the tempo, plays tough defense, hits the glass hard and rarely commits a foul.
The surprising emergence of the frontcourt has turned this team into something special. Lavoy Allen is averaging a double-double and is even a good passer for a 6-9 forward. But it may be his ability to block and alter shots that makes him so valuable and triggers the stellar Owl defense. Micheal Eric and Rahlir Jefferson are not great scorers, but they are effective rebounders and solid defenders.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The problem with the Owls is on the offensive side of the court. Many times the Temple offense can become stagnant. Ryan Brooks and Juan Fernandez are both capable scorers and shooters, but they can have trouble creating a shot for themselves or their teammates. Brooks is the player who can attack the basket and make things happen, but that is not always the case. The bulk of Fernandez’s offense comes from the outside shot. He is a very good three-point shooter and hits 46.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, but he rarely can create a shot for himself or a teammate in the halfcourt offense.
Who To Watch:
Luis Guzman and Ramone Moore are a couple players who could spark the offense when things are going bad. Guzman is the usual starter and is a very good ballhandler. However, he is not much of a scoring threat and that makes it more difficult for him to get to the basket and find an open teammate. If Guzman can at least be a threat to score from outside, it could be enough to get the offense rolling. Moore is a relatively inexperienced sophomore, but he does have the ability to attack the basket. He does not play too many minutes, mostly due to the fact that he wants to take way too many outside shots, which does not help the problem at all, but he does have the size and speed to attack the basket and at least make the opposing defense move around a little bit.
Luis Guzman, Senior, Guard, 4.8 ppg, 3.2 apg
Juan Fernandez, Sophomore, Guard, 12.6 ppg, 2.4 apg
Ryan Brooks, Senior, Guard, 14.3 ppg, 2.3 apg
Lavoy Allen, Junior, Forward, 11.5 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Micheal Eric, Sophomore, Center, 5.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Rahlir Jefferson, Freshman, Forward, 3.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Ramone Moore, Sophomore, Guard, 7.6 ppg, 1.5 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.4 (254th in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.8 (4, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.3 (186, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.1 (6, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (196, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.5 (187, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.7 (181, 6)
Rebound Margin: 4.6 (43, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.9 (48, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.7 (12, 1)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Cornell
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