Temple and Belmont Fight to Get in the Dance
The Temple Owls and the Belmont Bruins will meet on Tuesday at UD Arena. The Owls are back in the tournament and the Bruins have never won a NCAA Tournament game. These two teams battle tonight in a play in game to see who makes the real field of 64.
In his final season as a college basketball coach, Fran Dunphy has taken Temple back to the NCAA Tournament. The Owls earned a No. 11 seed in the East Region. They will open as part of the First Four. They will take on No. 11 seed Belmont in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday.
Dunphy is a Philadelphia sports icon. He coached Penn for 17 years, and now 13 years at Temple. He announced prior to this season that 2018-19 would be his last one on the sidelines. The Owls won six of their final seven games before falling to Wichita State in the American Athletic Conference Tournament. They needed every one of those wins to sneak into the Field of 68. Belmont has never won an NCAA Tournament game. They are 0-7), losing its recent appearances in 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2015. The Bruins were the top seed in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. They got upset by the Murray State Racers in the conference title game. The selection committee gave them a reprieve with one of the final spots in the Big Dance.
Temple is 23-9 overall on the season. The Owls have three primary scorers. They are Shizz Alston Jr. (19.7 points), Quinton Rose (16.5) and Nate Pierre-Louis (13.3). They all average at least 1.5 steals per game, as well. Alston enters with an eight-game streak of 20-point performances. He has made multiple 3-pointers in 12 of his last 13 games. Pierre-Louis has failed to surpass his scoring average in any of the last four games. Rose has struggled from the arc over the last month. Temple will need all of them tonight against a solid Belmont team. In his last nine games, Rose is 12-of-42 (28.6 percent) from long distance.
Belmont is 26-5 on the season. Dylan Windler is the Bruins leading scorer at 21.4 points. He is the top player for Belmont and shoots 43 percent from 3-point land. He averages a staggering 10.7 rebounds per game as a big guard. Kevin McClain scores 16.3 ppg and has 66 3-pointers. That is second on the team to Windler, who has 92. Nick Muszynski averages 14.9 ppg and is a solid contributor. He missed the conference title game with an ankle injury, but is expected to play in the NCAA Tournament. Muszynski has 65 blocks. Temple, as a team, has only 72.
PREDICTION: Belmont 79, Temple 69
NCAA Tournament Trends & Odds
Team record: 23-9 SU,15-15-2 ATS
Temple is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Temple’s last 6 games
Team record: 26-5 SU,18-10-2 ATS
Belmont is 5-1-1 ATS in its last 7 games
Belmont is 14-1 SU in its last 15 games
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