Featured Video from Scott Steehn
These two teams met earlier this year with the Owls squeezing out an 82-80 victory at home in overtime on Jan. 12. Temple comes into the weekend in fourth place in the AAC standings after winning eight of their first 12 conference games. Meanwhile, the Bulls are just one game back in the standings with a 7-5 record through their first 12 AAC contests. Can South Florida make up ground in the AAC with a victory over the Owls on Saturday night?
Owls currently on NCAA Tournament bubble
Temple got back on the winning track on Wednesday evening, taking down SMU 82-74 behind another strong game from senior point guard Shizz Alston. Alston finished with a game-high 28 points and five assists, while Nate Pierre-Louis added 16 points and nine boards for the Owls, who turned the ball over just five times on the night to avoid an upset at home.
Shizz Alston Jr. with the tough jumper for Temple to send the game to OT. pic.twitter.com/Jmc7lfVPLv
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) January 6, 2019
Fran Dunphy has guided the Owls to an 18-7 overall record and an 8-4 mark in league play so far this season, currently putting them on the proverbial NCAA Tournament bubble. Currently, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has pegged the Owls among his last four teams in the Big Dance, putting them in as a No.12-seed in his latest tournament projections and the Owls enter the weekend slotted at No. 75 in the latest KenPom rankings. Temple has scored 108.1 points per 100 possessions for the season (92nd in the NCAA) and 105.5 points per 100 possessions during conference play (4th in the AAC), while ranking among the best teams in the country at taking care of the basketball. The Owls have squeezed the orange to make the most of the offensive opportunities, turning the ball over on just 15.8 percent of their offensive possessions during league play (2nd in the AAC). Temple also does most of its damage from the outside, where they have attempted 42.7 percent of their total field goals during the AAC season (2nd in the AAC), while shooting a healthy 36.9 percent from 3-point range (2nd in the AAC).
On defense, Temple has given up 98.9 points per 100 possessions (89th in the NCAA) for the year, but that number has been trending in the wrong direction during conference play, where they have allowed 102.1 points per 100 possessions to AAC opponents (6th in the AAC). The Owls have sold out to defend the three-ball, limiting teams to a conference-best 28.1 percent from beyond the arc in league play, but opposing teams have managed to shoot a blistering 53.6 percent from two-point range during that span (12th in the AAC).
South Florida disappoints on the road vs. UCF
South Florida snapped a five-game winning streak on Wednesday night with a tough 78-65 defeat on the road against the UCF Knights. The Bulls had no answer for 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall, who scored 21 points and shot a whopping 21 free throws on the night for the Knights. David Collins led South Florida in scoring with a team-high 20 points, while Justin Brown chipped in 12 for the Bulls, who shot just 14 of 27 from the charity stripe and just 36.8 percent from the field in the loss.
— Running the Bulls (@USFBulls_Rivals) February 2, 2019
Brian Gregory’s squad comes into the weekend ranked No. 101 in the latest KenPom rankings after getting back on track in conference play. The Bulls have scored 102.0 points per 100 possessions for the season (214th in the NCAA) and they lead the nation with a free throw rate of 51.2 percent. However, poor shooting and turnovers have held the Bulls back all season long on offense and those problems have trickled into the conference season, where South Florida has averaged just 100.6 points per 100 possessions through 12 league games (9th in the AAC). They have turned the ball over on a 23.9 percent of their offensive possessions (12th in the AAC), while shooting just 47.7 percent from two-point range (10th in the AAC) and 64.8 percent from the free throw line as a team in conference play (11th in the AAC).
On defense, the Bulls have surrendered 95.4 points per 100 possessions (37th in the NCAA) for the year and 96.4 points per 100 possessions during the AAC season (2nd in the AAC). They have also forced opposing teams to turn the ball over on a league-leading 22.4 percent of their defensive possessions so far this year (1st in the AAC).
- Under is 5-2 in Bulls last 7 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 7-3 in Bulls last 10 home games.
- Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in South Florida.
- Owls are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Owls are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Under is 16-7 in Owls last 23 road games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Temple has covered the spread in four of their last five trips to South Florida and the Owls matchup well with this Bulls team. While this technically qualifies as a revenge game for the Bulls, I don’t like their chances in this spot on Saturday night. South Florida turns the ball over at a high rate and they rely too heavily on getting to the free throw lie to generate points on the offensive end. Meanwhile, the Owls should be able to win the turnover battle in this game and outscore the Bulls from beyond the arc, which has me leaning towards Temple covering the number on the road in this AAC battle on Saturday night.
Prediction: Pick: Temple Owls -1
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams have stayed under the projected total in four of their last five meetings in South Florida. The Bulls have stayed under in seven of their last 10 home games and five of their last seven games after losing their previous contest. Meanwhile, the under is 4-1 in UCF’s last five conference games and 16-7 in their last 23 road contests. Look for this AAC matchup to stay under the projected total on Saturday evening.
Prediction: Under 136.5