Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#795 Temple 134 vs.
#796 SMU -6
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#795 Temple University
#796 Southern Methodist University
10-6
12-4
8-8
8-7-1
4-12
10-6
68
76
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A pair of teams from the AAC take to the floor in the Lone Star State. The Temple Owls are on the road as they make the trip to battle with the SMU Mustangs Saturday night. Temple comes in off a 65-53 home upset of #16 Wichita State Wednesday night in their previous contest. SMU came up on the short end of a 71-62 decision on the road at Houston in their last game Wednesday night. The Mustangs own a 6-5 advantage in the all-time series between the schools but the Owls have taken the last two meetings, including an 82-74 home win in the most recent matchup February 13, 2019.

Temple Owls Try to Build Off Upset Win

Aaron McKie was once a star player at his alma mater but after Fran Dunphy hung up his whistle after 13 years at the school, he took over the head coaching reins. So far, it’s been all right for the former guard as his team enters the game 10-6 overall and 2-3 in Atlantic 10 play. Temple started the season 4-0, including a road win at USC, before losing to Maryland on a neutral floor. The Owls followed that with wins over Texas A&M and Davidson on a neutral floor before falling at home to Missouri. Temple won three of their next four before losing three straight to Tulsa, Houston and Tulane leading into their signature win of the year, the upset of Wichita State.

The Owls are putting up an average of 68.6 points per game on the season, putting them 254th in the nation in scoring offense. Temple is grabbing 39.8 rebounds per contest and hands out 14.4 assists per game. The Owls are well above average on the defensive end ranking 56th in scoring defense by allowing 63.1 points a night. Quinton Rose (team-high 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists) and Nate Pierre-Louis (10.4 points, nine rebounds) are the two players for the team scoring in double figures. De’Vondre Perry, Jake Forrester, Monty Scott, Josh Pierre-Louis, Alani Moore II, Justyn Hamilton and J.P. Moorman II each put up at least 4.5 points a night for the Owls. Temple shoots 40.6 percent from the field on the year. The Owls knock down 7.3 threes a night while shooting 32 percent from beyond the arc. Temple has some work to do at the free throw line, as they are sinking 68 percent of their chances on the year.

The numbers from KenPom show how much Temple relies on their defense to have success this season. While the Owls are 220th in offensive efficiency, they are a terrific 21st in defensive efficiency on the year. Temple plays at a quick pace, ranking 64th in the nation in tempo with 71.1 possessions per game on the year. The Owls don’t waste time offensively as they are 17th in shortest possession time on average offensively as they fire up a shot in 15.5 seconds. Their opponents are 332nd in that category, holding the ball on average for 18.3 seconds before taking a shot. Temple is 279th in effective field goal percentage offensively at 47.6 percent but stand 24th in that statistic on the defensive end of the floor, limiting opposing teams to 44.3 percent effective field goal percentage on the year.

SMU Mustangs Hope Return Home Leads to Return to Win Column

SMU had been cruising along this season with only a couple bumps in the road. After their recent pothole, the Mustangs hope that a return home leads to a change in recent fortunes for the program. SMU started the year with eight straight wins, the best of which was a four-point road victory at UNLV. The Mustangs suffered back to back defeats as they were hammered by 17 at home by Georgetown before losing in double overtime on the road to Georgia. SMU responded with four straight wins, including their first two conference tilts, before going on the road and falling by three to East Carolina and by nine to Houston. A return to Dallas gives the Mustangs a chance to get back on the right track here.

The Mustangs are putting up 76.8 points per game this season as a team, putting them 63rd in the nation in scoring offense. SMU pulls down 39.1 rebounds per contest while dishing 16.6 assists per game. The Mustangs are okay on the defensive end as they come in 161st in the nation by allowing 68.3 points per contest. Kendric Davis leads the team with 16.5 points plus 7.1 assists per game on the season. Isiaha Mike (15.4 points, 7.1 rebounds), Tyson Jolly (14 points, 6.4 rebounds) and Feron Hunt (13.5 points, 7.6 boards) are each averaging in double figures. Ethan Chargois and Emmanuel Bandoumel are the only other players averaging more than 2.9 points per game for the Mustangs. SMU shoots 46.5 percent from the field as a team this season. The Mustangs knock down 7.8 triples per contest and sink 33.9 percent from beyond the arc. SMU is stellar at the free throw line as they connect on 77.6 percent of their attempts this season.

The numbers from KenPom show that SMU is an offensive driven team, even with a short rotation as far as scoring options go. On the season, the Mustangs are 24th in offensive efficiency, 44th in effective field goal percentage (53.2 percent) and 24th in offensive rebound percentage at 35.1 percent. SMU is 17th in two-point field goal percentage (54.8 percent) and stands 13th in free throw shooting so far this season. The Mustangs do quite a bit offensively despite playing at one of the slower paces in the country. SMU is 319th in the nation in tempo with 65.3 possessions per game.

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This should be interesting as SMU is one of the better offenses in the nation. The concerning part about the Mustangs is how thin their rotation really is. You have four guys in double figures and two other guys putting up better than six points a night before you hit a proverbial offensive wasteland. That could prove problematic against a Temple team that can play defense and who makes you work on every possession. It’s a challenge to deal with Temple’s system and we just saw the Owls down Wichita State, limiting the Shockers to 53 points in the process. Even playing at home, it’s hard to trust a team that thin against a good defensive squad. Take Temple on the road.

Prediction: Temple Owls +5

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We know that Temple struggles offensively and the numbers bear that out. The Owls are 319th in field goal percentage and 247th in three-point percentage on the season. Temple's big edge comes in that they can blunt SMU's biggest advantage over most teams: their offensive prowess. The Owls will harass, pressure and screen off passes and contest shots to make every possession a battle. SMU is 48th in field goal percentage but Temple ranks 20th in field goal percentage defense (37.9 percent) and 19th in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.2 percent) this season. All it takes is a couple frustration fouls to really knock SMU out of whack. This one ends up under the number as Temple's defense does the job.

Prediction: Under 135.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.