NCAAB Tournament Game Preview: #11 Temple vs. #11 Belmont
Temple Owls (23-9) vs. Belmont Bruins (26-5)Game time: Tuesday, March 19, 9:10 p.m. ET
Location: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Where to watch: truTV
Spread: Belmont -3.5
Game AnalysisPlenty of debate leading up to Selection Sunday revolved around whether Belmont deserved a spot in the NCAA tournament after losing the conference title game to Murray State. The Bruins led the Ohio Valley Conference with a 16-2 record but lost the chance at an automatic bid in the Big Dance when the Racers toppled Belmont 77-65 in the conference tournament final. Belmont’s third-leading scorer Nick Muszynski (14.9 ppg) sat out with an ankle injury. He practiced for the first time on Monday and will be back for Tuesday’s First Four play-in game against No. 11 Temple.
Temple head coach Fran Dunphy will make his final NCAA tournament appearance, as he’s set to retire at season’s end. In early January, his Owls beat a 17th-ranked Houston 73-69 at home and took down 25th-ranked Central Florida at home to end the regular season. In Temple’s last 12 regular-season conference games, the team finished 8-4. The Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games. Belmont is 12-5 ATS in its last 17.
Dunphy’s overall NCAA tournament record is 3-16 between his time spent heading Pennsylvania and Temple. The Owls have made it no farther than the third round of the Big Dance, but that’s better than Belmont’s 0-7 record in the NCAA tournament.
However, the Bruins have the better offense coming into Tuesday’s match-up. The team averages 86.9 points per game, while Temple scores an average of just 74.8. The Owls rely mainly on Shizz Alston Jr., Quinton Rose and Nate Pierre-Louis to do much of the scoring. Outside of those three, no other player averages more than 6 points per game. Alston is on an eight-game streak of 20-point performances. But, Pierre-Louis is down on scoring and Rose has struggled from the three-point line over the last month.
Belmont’s top scorer Dylan Windler (21.4 ppg) is shooting 43 percent from behind the arc and grabbing an average of 10.7 boards per game. The offense is fast-paced and can count on more than three men to score for the team.
Expect Belmont to cover the -3.5 spread.
Tuesday night’s first play-in game features No. 16 Prairie View A&M vs. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson at 6:40 p.m. on truTV.
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