Saturday, November 26, 2011

Temple Preview....

The Falcon's homestand ends tomorrow with the Temple Owls coming to town.  Temple plays MAC teams as part of their entry fee to be able to play MAC football.

This is the best team we have played in this homestand, and is the best team we can expect to see in the Stroh until the Spartans come next year.  Let's check out what we can expect.  Temple has won 12 straight games against the MAC and 17 out of their last 22.  They have won all three meetings with the Falcons, including the last one 63-39.

Last season, they were 26-8 and finished with an RPI of 29.  They made the Big Dance, where they lost in the second round to #2 seed San Diego State in Double OT.

They enter this season highly touted.  College Basketball Prospectus has them second in the A-10 as does the official pre-season A-10 poll of media and coaches.

Temple is 3-1 this year.  This is their first true road game.  They beat Penn to open the season at the Palestra, and then went to Puerto Rico, where they beat WMU by 14, lost to Purdue and then beat Wichita State to close it out.  They have been off for a week.

The Owls are coached by Fran Dunphy, one of college basketball's classic coaches.  He racked up great records at Penn and at Temple, and has put his own mark on the program after taking over for the deranged John Chaney.  He has put his own mark on the program--Chaney played a very defensively oriented match-up zone defense, but Dunphy has opened things up a little bit.  Last season, they were 4th in the A-10 in scoring and defense, but they allowed on 62 points a game, 37th in D1.

Their most prominent player is Juan Fernandez.  He averages 15 points and 4 assists per game.  He is a senior from Argentina.  Their leading scorer is another senior, Ramone Moore, who is averaging over 40 minutes per game, if you can believe that.  He is scoring 20 points per game on 42% shooting and does not rank high on efficiency rankings.

As a side note, I'd be interested to know if there are any players who get 20 points a game efficiently.  Seems like every time you look, you find out you have to take a bunch of shots to get there.

Anyway, there other marquee player is Nigerian Michael Eric, who leads the A-10 with 11 rebounds a game.  He is a 6'11" graduate student.

As a team, on offense, Temple likes to attack the basket.  SO FAR this season, they have not been shooting a lot of 3s.  That was what I said in the GW game, and we saw what happened there, so who can tell, but it does not appear they are committed to getting 3s.

On defense, they focus on shooting percentage.  They don't seem to force a lot of turnovers or get steals, but they do block shots and force opponents to shoot poorly.  They are shooting 42% so far against the Owls and 29% from 3.

This is a very tough matchup for the Falcons.  On the other hand, teams win games like this every day in college basketball.  It is going to require the Falcons giving a huge effort on the defensive end of the floor and on the boards, and then getting some scoring from whomever to get enough points to win.

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