Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#707 Temple vs.
#708 SMU
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Blake V.

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Temple will try to bounce back from its loss to No. 3 Houston when it travels to SMU on Wednesday night. The Owls had their four-game winning streak snapped in an 81-65 loss to the Cougars on Sunday. SMU has lost four of its last five games, falling to East Carolina in a 77-72 final on Saturday.

Owls in second place in AAC standings

Temple got off to a mediocre start this season, going 6-7 through its first 13 games. The Owls have been much better in conference play, which started with a three-game winning streak over East Carolina, Cincinnati and South Florida. All three of their AAC losses have come at home, suffering setbacks against Tulane, Memphis and Houston. Temple had rattled off a four-game winning streak over East Carolina, Houston, USF and UCF prior to its loss to Houston in a rematch on Sunday. The Owls are still sitting in second place in the conference standings, tied with Tulane and Memphis for that spot.

They have not been a great offensive team this season, ranked No. 249 in effective field goal percentage and No. 292 in turnover rate. Temple has been terrible from the perimeter, knocking down just 32.1% of its 3-pointers (No. 280). The Owls have taken care of business at the charity stripe, converting on 76.9% of its free throws. They are facing an SMU defense that is No. 135 in adjusted efficiency. Sophomore guard Khalif Battle leads Temple with 18.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Damian Dunn is adding 14.7 points. Sophomore forward Jamille Reynolds is also in double figures, chipping in 10.8 points and 5.9 boards.

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Mustangs hoping for another conference win

SMU continues to struggle in its first year under head coach Rob Lanier, who previously worked as an assistant under Rick Barnes at Tennessee and was then the head man at Georgia State. The Mustangs opened conference play with a 92-67 win over Tulsa, but they have gone 2-8 in their 10 games since then. One of their other two wins came against Tulsa in overtime last month, as they were able to sweep the season series. SMU has dropped four of its five games since then, including back-to-back road losses to Tulane and East Carolina last week. The Mustangs were 2-point favorites in their 77-72 loss to the Pirates, marking the sixth straight game without covering the spread.

They have been even worse than Temple on the offensive end, ranked No. 313 in effective field goal percentage (47.1). SMU is No. 290 in free-throw percentage (68.1), No. 292 in 2-point percentage (47.3) and No. 305 in 3-point percentage (31.3). The Mustangs have been able to salvage some of their possessions with a low turnover rate. They are facing a Temple defense that is the strength of its team, ranked No. 57 in field goal percentage. Sophomore guard Zhuric Phelps leads SMU with 16.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while senior guard Zach Nutall (13.8) and senior forward Efe Odigie (10.6) are both in double figures as well.

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These teams have been trending in completely different directions, and I want no part of fading that momentum right now. Temple has proven itself as a legitimate contender atop the AAC standings, beating then-No. 1 Houston on the road several weeks ago. The Owls have covered the spread in eight of their last 11 games, including five straight road games. SMU has started to look lifeless as it begins to wrap up its first season under Lanier, failing to cover the spread in six straight outings. Temple has covered the spread in four of the last five meetings between these teams, and I expect that to continue on Wednesday.

Prediction: Temple -2.5

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SMU’s lack of confidence in its ability to win games right now has shown up primarily on the defensive end of the court. The Mustangs do not believe that they can slow down the top teams in the conference (they can’t). This has led to the over cashing in five of their last six games, including four of their last five home games. Temple is likely going to be getting to the charity stripe on a frequent basis down the stretch, which is when its No. 16 free-throw percentage will come into play. SMU loves to push the pace in transition, sitting at No. 80 of 363 Division I teams in tempo.

Prediction: Under 138.5

Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Blake is also an avid sports being expert and you would not be disappointed in following him on a daily basis. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 
Follow on Twitter @Blake_Vonhagen